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January 31, 2015 / 11 Shevat, 5775
 
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Israelis Risk Flying Through Enemy Countries To Save a Buck

The new Qatar Airport

The new Qatar Airport
Photo Credit: Fahad Al Mahmood

In recent years, Israelis have been choosing to fly to the Far East through Arab states which do not recognize the State of Israel, according to Israel Channel 2 News. Israel’s Foreign Office says that those enemy countries prohibit the entry of Israelis – but Israeli passengers report no special problem at those stops, and they get to save as much as $500 per ticket.

Israeli passengers arrive—on a plane or by car—at Amman Airport in Jordan, and then fly through the Gulf states – Qatar, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates – to the Far East.

An Israeli travel agency named Flyeast brokers these flights for Gulf Air, the principal flag carrier of the Kingdom of Bahrain. Headquartered in Muharraq, near Bahrain International Airport, GA operates scheduled services to 45 destinations in 28 countries across Africa, Asia and Europe. Its hub is, of course, Bahrain International Airport, connecting to London, Paris, Dubai, Karachi, and Mumbai.

GA operates two daily flights from Amman to Bahrain and Muscat. Israelis enjoy a tremendous advantage flying with GA, because companies who take off from Ben Gurion International, in Israel, charge more for the Tel-Aviv to the Far East leg.

Some Israelis fly with the Qatari national airline, through the capital city Doha, also saving between $200 and $500.

But according to Channel 2 News, Israel’s Foreign Office is much less enthusiastic than those passengers (and travel agents). “The passengers should realize that they are in countries where there is no Israeli representative who can help them if something happens,” a Foreign  Ministry spokesman cautioned. “There is no difference between the UAE and Qatar, and Syria and Iran on this matter. They’re all defined enemy states, and we instruct Israeli citizens not to enter them.”

It is also worth mentioning that Israeli businessman Elhanan Tannenbaum, a reserve IDF colonel, was kidnapped in 2000 and held for more than three years by the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, after being lured into Dubai and the UAE.

Israeli insurance companies refuse to insure passengers for their stay in enemy countries.

About the Author: Yori Yanover has been a working journalist since age 17, before he enlisted and worked for Ba'Machane Nachal. Since then he has worked for Israel Shelanu, the US supplement of Yedioth, JCN18.com, USAJewish.com, Lubavitch News Service, Arutz 7 (as DJ on the high seas), and the Grand Street News. He has published Dancing and Crying, a colorful and intimate portrait of the last two years in the life of the late Lubavitch Rebbe, (in Hebrew), and two fun books in English: The Cabalist's Daughter: A Novel of Practical Messianic Redemption, and How Would God REALLY Vote.


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