|Ben Gurion Airport, Tel Aviv [Image Source]|
Airlines in the United States and Europe suspended flights to and from Israel on Tuesday after a rocket fell about a mile from Ben-Gurion International Airport outside Tel Aviv. Major airlines canceled service — and in several cases, diverted planes in midflight — after the Federal Aviation Administration instructed American carriers not to fly to Israel for 24 hours because of the “potentially hazardous situation created by the armed conflict in Israel and Gaza.” The disruption of air travel at the height of the summer tourism season highlighted the growing impact of the conflict in the Gaza Strip on the Israeli economy, even as the government sought to project an aura of business as usual. [New York Times, July 22, 2014]Who is flying into Israel today? GLOBES, the Israeli business newspaper, says only the three Israeli airlines: El Al Israel Airlines, Arkia and Israir. It's worth keeping in mind for future reference.
Times of Israel's report points out the dichotomy of views behind the decision:
Israel called American carriers to assure them there was no security problem for take-offs and landings. US Secretary of State John Kerry told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that the ban was ordered only to protect the safety and security of US citizens.
|The flight advisory board at Ben Gurion at this moment|
most of the rockets fired at the Tel Aviv area by militants had been intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome antimissile system. Ephraim Sneh, a retired general and deputy defense minister of Israel, was sharply critical of the decision to suspend flights. It was a dream of the militant Hamas leadership “to disconnect Israel from the outer world,” he told reporters... [New York Times, July 22, 2014]As a Jerusalem Post article this morning points out ["El Al says there is 'no chance' it will cancel flights to, from Israel"], the major Israel-based carriers El Al and Arkia will keep serving travelers to and from Israel, of course. They did the same the last time a host of foreign operators suddenly cancelled all of their Israel-bound flights in 1991 as Saddam Hussein's Iraqi forces made a previous missile-driven assault on Israel.
There's something sadly familiar to Israelis and their supporters at the sight of fair-weather friends crumbling on cue: that's you Delta, United, US Airways, Lufthansa, Germanwings, Austrian Airlines, Swiss, Air France among many others.
Yet another reminder, even in these times of a global village and universal brotherhood, of what Jewish experience has taught us [see "A nation that dwells alone"].