The Helicopter Carriers of Cherbourg

The Helicopter Carriers of Cherbourg (Washington Post)

March 19, 2014



By Eugene Kontorovich

Both the timidity of the European response to Russia’s Crimean conquest–and the hysteria of its stances on Israel–can be seen in the story of two naval contracts.

In the 1960s, Israel ordered a number of new missile boats from France. In 1968, Israel raided the Beirut airport, where it destroyed some empty planes on the ground, in response to an attack by the Lebanese-based PLO on an El Al flight. France reacted by imposing an arms embargo on Israel (Paris had increasingly abandoned Jerusalem in favor of the Arab world since the Algeria withdrawal, and even more so since the Six-Day War). But Israel had already paid for the boats–and in an extraordinary repo operation, spirited them out of Cherbourg harbor under French noses, and sailed them successfully all the way to Israel.

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