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August 23, 2014 / 27 Av, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Ben Gurion Airport’

FAA Ban on Flights to Israel ‘Worse than BDS’

Thursday, July 24th, 2014

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration’s decision to impose an outright ban on U.S. flights to, from or over Israel which began on Tuesday, July 22, and which was extended through a second 24-hour period the following day, is unprecedented in terms of its scope and given the U.S. relationship with Israel and the specific incident out of which the ban allegedly arose.  The FAA’s standards for determining whether a U.S. flag carrier can fly to every other spot in the world are different from — and more accommodating to travel than — the standard the United States has applied to Israel for the last 48 hours.

First, the FAA imposed a complete ban on U.S. flights into Israel, not just a partial ban and not just an advisory or the standard “should avoid” language. Second, the FAA imposed the ban on a host country which is one of America’s closest, longest-standing allies. Third, the ban against Israel’s Ben Gurion airport was imposed after a piece of shrapnel – created when Israel shot down a rocket fired by terrorists in Gaza – hit an Israeli home about a mile from the airport, it was not the rocket itself which struck near the airport and it wasn’t a rocket that could have hit a jet airliner, in any event.

So why did the FAA take this unusual step, one that is potentially economically catastrophic for our ally Israel?

There are really only two possible explanations: The first one is that the ban was imposed in order to protect the lives of American citizens. The second explanation, one that has been raised quietly here and there, and loudly in at least one office on Capital Hill, is that the ban was imposed in order to grab Israel by the back of its neck and force it into a ceasefire. That ceasefire would be imposed on the Jewish State before it is able to accomplish the mission it has set for itself after years of terrorist attacks with thousands of rockets.

Most people assumed the first explanation was the basis for the FAA ban. But the evidence does not add up.  Nor does the historical record support the claims uttered by a State Department spokesperson that neither the White House nor the State Department played a role in the FAA decision to issue the categorical ban.

Marie Harf, at the State Department’s daily press briefing on Tuesday, claimed that the travel ban decision was warranted “for the safety of United States citizens.” She claimed that the FAA, “in response to the recent attack at Ben Gurion Airport – in the vicinity of Ben Gurion Airport” believed it was important to issue the ban.

The Jewish Press spoke at length with a former naval intelligence officer, Commander J.E. Dyer (ret.) about the FAA ban on U.S. flights to Israel.

FLIGHT BAN ON ISRAEL DISPROPORTIONATE, UNPRECEDENTED AND POLITICALLY DRIVEN

She made several categorical statements. First, the FAA ban on Israel was shocking and she believes it was absolutely a political decision rather than a decision made to secure the safety of U.S. citizens. Second, the ban is wholly disproportionate to the incident. Proof of that is what the FAA has done in response to far more dangerous and frequent attacks directly on airports in areas of concentrated violence which have gone on at least as long, if not longer, than the current situation in Gaza. Fourth, other than complete flight bans into North Korea and, currently, Eastern Ukraine, there are no complete bans on airports in any country in the world for U.S. airlines.

Is there a sane person on the planet who imagines that the threat to American airlines by North Korea is anything like that posed by the Gang That Can’t Shoot Straight Terrorists in Gaza? And the militarized pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine do indeed have the weapons, the ability and the will to shoot airplanes out of the sky – they’ve already done it more than once.

US and European Flights to Israel Cancelled Due to Rockets

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014

Delta Airlines and US Airways temporarily suspended flights to and from Israel on Tuesday, July 22 after a rocket fired by Gazan terrorists landed in the Israeli city of Yahud, which is 6 miles from Ben Gurion Airport. One Israeli was injured by that rocket attack.

Delta Flight #468 which was on its way to Tel Aviv from New York with 273 passengers turned around over the Mediterranean and flew instead to Paris. Delta announced the suspension of service to Tel Aviv with a statement on its website.

delta.jpg

Following those cancellations, other airlines, both in the United States and abroad also suspended flights to Ben Gurion Airport. Among the other airlines grounding Israel-destination flights are Air France, SwissAir, Germany’s Lufthansa and the Netherlands KLM.

In response to the cancellations, Israel’s Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz called on the airlines to reverse their decision, insisting the Ben-Gurion Airport is safe and completely guarded and saying there is no reason to “hand terror a prize,” by halting the flights.

Instead, the U.S.’s Federal Aviation Agency banned all flights to Ben Gurion Airport for the next 24 hours.

UPDATE: Of course the ban does not apply to Israel’s airline, El Al. That airline has no intention of cancelling flights. “There is no chance we will stop operations,” an El Al spokesman told the Jerusalem Post.

Emergency Landing at Ben Gurion Airport

Sunday, July 13th, 2014

Delta flight #469 with 362 passengers made an emergency landing at Ben Gurion airport at 2:30 AM on Sunday.

The plane, a Boeing 747 flying from Ben Gurion to JFK, declared the emergency shortly after takeoff, and circled over the ocean for over an hour before returning back to land in Israel.

Delta 469

The plane landed safely.

4.8 Million Israelis Traveled Overseas in 2013

Thursday, June 12th, 2014

4.8 million Israelis traveled overseas in 2013, according to a report in Yisrael Hayom.

That’s an amazing number, considering there are only 8 million citizens in Israel. It’s also the highest ratio of travelers to citizens in the world.

It’s was a 11.6% increase from 2012, up from 4.3 million. The average traveler’s age is 40, and 900,000 Israelis traveled out more than once.

July and August accounted for 1.7 million Israelis abroad. If you add in the holidays in September and October, that number jumps to 2.7 million. An astounding one-third of the country was overseas at the same time.

With numbers like that, it’s no wonder Israel never feels crowded.

Quite interesting, the time when most Israelis stop flying out of Israel are during wars and national emergencies, when the number of travelers out of the country drops dramatically and people choose to stay in Israel.

Go figure.

Have a Good US Visit, Bibi, Please Don’t Bring Home Any Surprises

Sunday, March 2nd, 2014

Dear Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu,

Today you are your starting out on your complex mission to the United States and may you have Heaven’s support and the support of the Land of Israel.

He who turns history presents you with the challenge of your life at an optimum point in time.

A quick glance at what is happening around us reveals how international attention has passed from Israel to the Ukraine and everyone is alert and prepared to see if the weakness of the American president’s policies will lead to the collapse of the United States’ international standing.

The experience of the recent past in Syria teaches us that Obama has not kept his promises about the red lines that he himself stated. In Egypt as well as in Libya Obama supported the wrong side and his failed policy has brought the entire Middle East to a state of instability and shock. Who better than you knows that in the Iranian question as well, Obama made declarations, promises and commitments about his commitment to the security of Israel while in effect, gave a green light to continue the Iranian nuclear program.

Mister Prime Minister, every child understands today that we must not depend on the Obama administration and we must not submit to his decrees. The eyes of the People of Israel accompany you in your travels. Up until now you have maneuvered yourself wisely, and indeed, we hope that you will have the wisdom to take advantage of the momentum that has been presented to you to raise Israel’s esteem in the world and repair the long-range damage to the consciousness that were done by the declarations in your Bar Ilan speech. The damage that was done by that declaration must and can be repaired now.

At this juncture, when the entire world is alert and everyone realizes the importance of maintaining the sovereignty of Ukraine, this is the time to clarify in a great voice to the entire world that we intend to guard our sovereignty in the Land of Israel like the pupils of our eyes. We must impose Israeli sovereignty over Judea and Samaria and the Jordan Valley. From your long years of acquaintance with the Arab “partner” and the blood-soaked history that our people has experienced, you know well, Mr. Prime Minister, that the Arabs have never recognized and will never recognize Israel as the state of the Jewish People, regardless of any borders. We are at a decisive time in which it is possible to strengthen our position.

As you leave Jerusalem, the Women in Green movement and the Forum for Sovereignty are with you and will accompany you with a very large poster that will be placed at the exit from Jerusalem for the coming weeks and it reads: “YES to Sovereignty over Judea, Samaria and the Jordan Valley”.

In a discussion on the expulsion from Gush Katif and northern Samaria that was held in Ariel a few days ago, Eyal Arad claimed that the Right failed because it did not present an alternative. This is not true. There is an alternative! A realistic, Zionist plan does exist – application of Israeli sovereignty. This plan is indeed accompanied by difficulties but the difficulties associated with sovereignty are preferable to the physical and spiritual destruction entailed in the establishment of a terrorist Palestinian state in the heart of our Land, a stone-throw away from Ben Gurion Airport.

We must not think in terms of survivalism, rather we must aspire to realize our hold on the Land and our sovereignty in the Land of Israel. This will bring calm to our Arab neighbors, economic growth and an improvement in the security situation.

Trains Grounded, Gush Etzion Highway Closed

Sunday, December 15th, 2013

Jerusalem still is digging out of the “snowstorm of the century,” and the main highway from Tel Aviv was closed temporarily Sunday evening to allow workers to move freely to restore electricity to hundreds of families without electricity for more than two days.

Schools will be closed in the capital on Monday.

The road to Jerusalem from Gush Etzion, which was buried under more than two feet of snow, remains closed.

Train service in the country also has been grounded because of the collapse of a retaining wall, knocking out rail service to Modi’in and Ben Gurion Airport. Flooding on tracks has knocked out train service to Be’er Sheva, Tel Aviv, Herzliya and Jerusalem.

Wicked Storm from Russia ‘Attacks’ Israel with Rain and Snow

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013

A wicked and rare early winter storm plowed into Israel Wednesday, and weather forecasters predict between four and eight inches of rain will fall in the north, with gale force winds and possibly snow in Jerusalem and the higher hills of Judea and Samaria.

Snow is rare in Israel in early December, and predicting the white stuff in the country is as tricky as forecasting anything else in the Middle East. A tiny shift in the winds often moves a weather system towards or away from land, and a change of one or two degrees in the temperature can spell the difference between rain and snow.

This week’s system is a woozy, and the only questions are whether the rains will be drenching or extremely torrential, and if snow will accumulate in Jerusalem.

Rain fell in central and northern Israel last week after a dry November, and some communities in the western Negev received as much as four inches of rain. The Kinneret began to rise for the first time since last spring, but that is only a sneak preview of what is in store for the country from today through Sunday.

Before it is all over, more than three feet of snow is expected to have fallen on the upper slopes of the Hermon, which would allow for a very early opening of the ski season next week, weather permitting.

The Ministry of Agriculture predicts that up to seven inches of rain will fall in the northern Golan Heights, six inches in the Haifa area, 2-3 inches on the Kinneret, 5-6 inches around metropolitan Tel Aviv, 2-3 inches in the northern Negev and more than half an inch in the parched Arava desert.

The storm is rare in its expected intensity and length because it is headed from Russia, via the Black Sea, an unusual occurrence in early December. Meteorologist Tzachi Waxman of Meteo-Tech said, “A cold wave like this is exceptional for this time of year and usually occurs in January and February.”

Torrential rains will raise the level of the Kinneret dramatically once run-off begins from mountain streams.

The downside of the storm will be the usual flooded streets, traffic jams and power outages resulting from electric poles and wires downed by heavy winds and from heavy demand for power by everyone using electric heaters to stay warm.

Air traffic at Ben Gurion may be disrupted, which could knock out the schedule of U.S. Secretary John Kerry who is to land in Israel on Wednesday. With a bit of luck, good or bad depending on your view, he might not be able to land at all.

Heavy rains and strong winds, which may reach gale force velocity, began falling in the northern Negev late Tuesday. Weather maps indicate a rare phenomenon for this time of year will occur on Wednesday, when rain is expected to fall over the entire country, from the northern border to Eilat.

Snow on Wednesday night will cover Tzfat (Safed) and other higher elevations in the northern Galilee and the Golan Heights, and it will continue on Thursday, with occasional thunderstorms throughout the country.

There is a chance of snow in Jerusalem and the mountains in Judea and Samaria and the Negev on Thursday and a higher probability that snow will fall on those areas Thursday night and Friday. However, there is no assurance that the snow will accumulate below altitudes of 2,800 feet, the height of most of the highest areas in Jerusalem. Parts of Gush Etzion and the southern Hevron Hills are as high as 3,000 feet, where accumulation is more probable.

Flash floods will smash through the Judean Desert and Arava.

Private weather forecasters predict that the storm will continue to pummel Israel on the Sabbath before weakening late in the day. It will be extremely cold Saturday night, with possible sub-zero temperatures in higher elevations.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/wicked-storm-from-russia-attacks-israel-with-rain-and-snow/2013/12/10/

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