Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg defied a ban Tuesday by a fearful Obama administration cowed by Hamas terror and announced he would fly to Israel in solidarity with the Jewish State.
A three-term New York City mayor and one of the richest men in America, Bloomberg has been a member of both the Democratic and Republican parties. He called on the Obama administration to immediately lift a ban on flights to Israel by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
The ban was imposed following an attack in which one missile landed in Yahud, a town located about two miles from the airport. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry informed Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu that the ban was ordered solely to protect American citizens.
It seems Hamas has widened its attacks on Israel to include the international community as it brings passengers to Israel. Bloomberg, however, was not fazed by the threat, nor by the Obama administration’s cowed response to it.
“This evening I will be flying on El Al to Tel Aviv to show solidarity with the Israeli people and to demonstrate that it is safe to fly in and out of Israel,” Bloomberg wrote on his official Twitter account. Ben Gurion airport, he asserted, is “the best protected airport in the world.” El Al flights have continued in safety throughout the conflict with Hamas.
“The flight restrictions are a mistake,” he wrote, “that hands Hamas an undeserved victory and should be lifted immediately. I strongly urge the FAA to reverse course and permit U.S. airlines to fly to Israel.” Bloomberg is known for his philanthropy to the Jewish State, and inaugurated a new Magen David Adom center in Jerusalem in 2011.
Air Canada and numerous other airlines in Europe and elsewhere around the world cancelled flights after the FAA warned U.S. airlines they were prohibited from flying to Ben Gurion International Airport. Turkey used the U.S. ban as an excuse to cancel its own local flights to Tel Aviv as well. On Tuesday a Turkish Airlines flight departing from Istanbul and headed for Tel Aviv turned back, with the airline announcing the suspension of all flights for the next 24 hours.
At least 29 IDF soldiers have died defending Israelis from the incessant rocket, mortar and missile attacks on Israel, which have reached all parts of the country at this point. Because Hamas has rejected all attempts at reaching a cease fire or negotiations for peace and is using terror tunnels to carry out further attacks on civilians, Israel launched a ground operation to neutralize the threat. More than 630 Palestinian Authority Arabs have died in the conflict, including terrorists and civilians, many of whom are ordered by Hamas to serve as human shields to protect military installations.