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Hurricane Sandy’s fury created a ripple effect that was felt in Israel, as thousands of tourists, business travelers and ordinary citizens found themselves stranded on both sides of the ocean.
As of midweek, all flights from Ben Gurion International Airport to both JFK and Newark airports had been cancelled through at least Wednesday morning. With JFK Airport reporting heavy flooding and high winds across its runways on Tuesday, and Newark Airport dealing with high winds and sporadic power problems, it was undetermined when regular flights to Israel from the metropolitan New York area would resume. U.S. Airways flights to Israel from Philadelphia International Airport were also canceled through at least Wednesday morning. Once the region’s airports resume a normal flight schedule, El Al, Delta, United and U.S. Airways will have to deal with a backlog of thousands of passengers whose flights were canceled earlier this week.
Thousands of American olim and native Israelis who live in Modiin, Beit Shemesh, Tel Aviv and other cities in close proximity to Ben Gurion Airport and who regularly commute to their jobs in the New York, Boston and Washington areas, found themselves scrambling to rebook their flights. Many of these commuters board El Al’s midnight and early Sunday morning flights from Israel and then return home via late night flights on Wednesday evening from JFK and Newark airports.
Nature’s fury also exacted a toll on Israeli tourists trapped in their Manhattan hotels, as well as Israelis trying to make their way to the New York area for various functions. According to ynetnews.com, a religious resident of Jerusalem was scheduled to marry his fiancée in the New York area this week, but Hurricane Sandy kept them apart. “The excited grin has been wiped off the chattan’s face,” the groom’s father told ynetnews.com on Monday.
Israeli pop singer David Broza, in the midst of his annual concert tour across the U.S., told Yediot Aharonot, “The situation in Tribeca during the storm was terrible. The streets were filling up with water and power outages were expected. I had a concert scheduled in Manhattan on Thursday but instead my wife and I prepared ourselves just like during the [First] Gulf War. The difference being, instead of taping up the windows with plastic, we have life preservers.”
In the hurricane’s wake, many Israelis were trying to establish contact with friends and family in parts of Brooklyn, Queens, Long Island and New Jersey.
Ironically, thousands of American business executives who were able to board flights to Israel earlier this week flooded into Tel Aviv hotels for a phalanx of annual conferences and meetings. According to the Tel Aviv Hotel Association, almost every major hotel in the Tel Aviv vicinity was booked to near capacity.
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It’s Rosh Chodesh Elul, and that means school has begun in the Chareidi school system.
Smitherman has witnessed firsthand both how damaging income inequality has been to the poor and how it negatively impacts families and communities.
“It was embarrassing to be asked, Why is Egypt right now a better ally than America? Why is Israel doing more than the U.S. to protect Israel?”
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Israel’s political landscape awoke Wednesday to the latest ceasefire with a sharp round of criticism for Prime Minister Netanyahu, and jostling for position amongst senior politicians who have begun to smell the aroma of early elections, possibly in the first half of 2015.
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Awad had been released as part of the Gilad Shalit kidnapping deal. Mizrachi’s widow, Hadas, told Israeli reporters that she had opposed the release of murderers as part of any kidnapping deal, and that Awad “deserved the death penalty so he wouldn’t kill again.”
If the abductors’ goal was to force Israeli authorities to release long-serving Palestinian prisoners, the effort backfired as Israeli forces are quickly rolling up what was left of Hamas in the West Bank and are reportedly contemplating the overthrow of the Hamas leadership in Gaza should harm come to the three teenagers.
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