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April 23, 2014 / 23 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘travel’

Saudi Arabia Airline’s ‘No Israelis Allowed’ Policy Violates Law

Wednesday, July 17th, 2013

Saudi Arabia Airline refuses to issue tickets in New York for Israelis, even if they are only stopping off in Saudi Arabia for a connecting flight, a policy that contradicts federal law.

The airline’s website asks travelers for their citizenship but does not have an option available for “Israel” although it does have options for other countries, even Antarctica, The New York Post reported.

Mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio was quick to jump on the report, and one of his staff called the airline, saying he was an Israeli trying to fly from JFK to India. The airline agent said he could not fly with Saudi Arabia Airlines.

United States law states, “[An] air carrier or foreign air carrier may not subject a person in air transportation to discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex or ancestry.”

“No city in the world has closer ties to Israel than we do, and yet Israeli citizens are being discriminated against right here at JFK. It’s not only illegal; it’s an affront to who we are,” said Blasio.

Yad Vashem Ranked a Top Museum by Travel Website

Sunday, July 14th, 2013

Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust memorial and museum, was ranked fourth in the top 25 museums in the world by the travel website TripAdvisor.

Yad Vashem also was awarded the websites 2013 Certificate of Excellence award, given to sites that consistently receive outstanding traveler reviews. Approximately one million people visit Yad Vashem annually.

TripAdvisor is a popular travel website driven by reviews and comments of tourists and travelers. To qualify for a Certificate of Excellence, tourist sites must maintain an overall rating of four or higher out of a possible five, as reviewed by travelers on TripAdvisor. Yad Vashem is currently listed as first among 146 recommended sites to visit in Jerusalem.

Visitors who commented on the site applauded the “moving and informative displays,” the “incredible use of architecture, audio visual, photos, and actual items to recreate a time in history that should never happen again” calling it an “emotional, educational and inspiring experience” an “unbelievably moving experience” that is a “must-see” for any traveler to Israel.

Foreign Ministry Strike Strands South Floridians

Wednesday, July 3rd, 2013

The strike at the Foreign Ministry and its consulates worldwide has left hundreds people stranded, including several from South Florida.

“All I really need is someone to put a stamp in my passport” that expired last month, Delray Beach, Florida businessman Shimon Cohen told the Miami Herald. He charged that the strike violated his “basic human right of free movement.”

The strike was prompted by a government reorganization of the ministry after the creation of  a new Ministry of International Relations, Intelligence and Strategic Affairs.

Chaim Schacham, the Israeli consul general for Florida and Puerto Rico, said the strike was necessary. “Because we’re diplomats and we speak diplomatically, they didn’t take us seriously at first,” he added.

Cohen said he understands the beefs of the ministry workers  but “a passport is a necessity, not a luxury.” He said, “I cannot be held as a prisoner here based on what is happening in Israel. Let them settle it within the borders of Israel.”

That assumes that Israeli knows what its borders are.

Flatbush Yeshiva: Bumping Students from Plane Was not Anti-Semitic

Tuesday, June 18th, 2013

The decision to eject the senior class of the Yeshiva of Flatbush in Brooklyn from a flight was not anti-Semitic, an internal school report found.

AirTran Airways “abused its discretion” in forcing the 101 students off the early morning flight June 3 to their senior trip in Atlanta, according to the report, obtained by the Times of Israel and authored by the yeshiva’s executive director, Rabbi Seth Linfield.

Flight attendants said the students did not stay seated and continued to use their mobile devices in advance of takeoff, despite their requests as well as from the captain. The report found that students erred by not turning off their cellphones.

“At no time did the students disrespect the flight crew in words or tone — beyond not immediately complying with the directives… to turn off all electronic devices,” the report said, according to the report.

The yeshiva said the airline crew rejected offers of assistance from the seven school chaperones in controlling the students and that the medias headline the incident because of claims that the airplane officials acted out of anti-Semitism.

The yeshiva apologized to AirTran, a subsidiary of Southwest Airlines, “to the extent that any of our students behaved in a way that was perceived by the flight crew to be disrespectful or disobedient.”

It also praised AirTran for giving vouchers to the students to continue on to Atlanta and working to rebook them.

‘Mincha Starts in 3 Miles’

Wednesday, June 12th, 2013

Motorists on Highway 6, or Kvish 6 as it is known even to English-speakers, has cut the travel time from the area east of Haifa to towns slightly north of Be’er Sheva to 75 minutes. Most motorists can easily pray morning and evening prayers at their homes or destinations, but they often are stuck without a minyan for afternoon mincha prayers.

Stopping along the shoulder to daven is common, but it poses a safety problem and does not allow fulfilling the mitzvah of praying in a minyan.

Rabbi Shmuel Rosenberg solved the problem on a northern highway several months ago by putting up two Chabad stations for public prayers, but there was no solution for the privately-operated Kvish 6.

Rabbi David Grossman of Migdal HaEmek asked the operators of the toll road for permission to allow a “prayer station.” Security officers did not object, and drivers on Sunday found that a small structure serving as a synagogue was placed at a rest stop on the northern part of the highway, under the supervision of Rabbi Rosenberg.

He said it will operate 24 hours a day and will include books for study, enabling motorists not only to daven in a minyan but also to take a break from driving and learn Torah.

Kvish 6 said that signs will be erected so that drivers know they will have a place to pray.

The highway’s director Udi Saviyon, said, “I promised Rabbi Grossman that we also will operate a synagogue in the opposite direction,” for southbound drivers,” and we will try to do this as soon as possible.”

Rabbi Grossman stated, “Drivers need prayers to arrive safely to their destination, and I have no doubt that this synagogue will protect them.”

‘Non-Compliant’ NY Yeshiva Students Ejected from Flight

Tuesday, June 4th, 2013

The senior class of Yeshiva of Flatbush in Brooklyn was kicked off a flight Southwest Airlines flight from New York to Atlanta on Monday for being “non-compliant.”

Flight attendants said the students did not stay seated and continued to use their mobile devices in advance of takeoff, despite their requests as well as from the captain.

Chaperones interviewed by CNN said the flight crew overreacted and that some of the 101 students had to be told twice to sit down and turn off their devices, but that they all complied.

One of the students, Jonathan Zehavi, told CNN that the class was targeted because they were identifiably Jewish.

“They treated us like we were terrorists; I’ve never seen anything like it,” Zehavi said. “I’m not someone to make these kinds of statements. I think if it was a group of non-religious kids, the air stewardess wouldn’t have dared to kick them off.”

The airline gave the students travel vouchers to continue on to their trip’s destination. The students went on several different flights, some taking up to 12 hours to meet up with the group.

Obama Golfs and Bibi Eats Ice Cream – How Much to Indulge Leaders?

Tuesday, May 14th, 2013

Personal expenses for Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu soared 80 percent in the last year, according to figures that his office were forced to release after it ignored a formal request and acquiesced only after a petition for disclosure was filed in court.

The anti-Netanyahu Israeli press, which is just about all of the local media, jumped on the Prime Minister and his wife Sarah for freely spending the taxpayers’ money at a time when the government is carrying out austerity measures to reduce the budget deficit.

The attacks are somewhat populist, but that does not detract from the fact that some of the Netanyahus’ spending habits are from frugal.

However, compared with President Barack Obama, the Israeli expenditures are peanuts.

Of course, comparing the United States with Israel is like comparing Wyoming with New York, but there also is one other very basic difference: Israel loves to hang out its collective dirty laundry in full view of the public.

The Israeli society is nothing if not open. Thanks to the official list of expenditures, we now know that the Netanyahus spent approximately $40,000 for gardening last year at the family’s official home and two private residences.

Cosmetic and haircut and hairdo expense rose last year from $9,250 to nearly $18,000.

We don’t know how much the White House spent on keeping Obama and Michelle’s hair neat and prim, but you can bet your bottom shekel that $18,000 barely paid for a shave and after-shave.

In Israel, the principle often is more important than the principal, and the public indeed needs a leader who can be an example of a bit of modest spending at a time when the government wants to hike taxes and lower services to the public.

Netanyahu earlier this year was embarrassed by the disclosure that he asked for $2,700 to lap up ice cream, one of his weaknesses. He put a stop to his habit, at least not at the public’s expense.

Last week, he had to order a halt to the use of a special airplane bedroom that was installed for the price of $125,000 when he and his wife flew to Britain for the funeral of Margaret Thatcher. The special room will be removed, except for trans-Atlantic flights.

In the United States, President Obama has been has attacked for his costly habit of playing golf. His recent outing with Tiger Woods cost $78,000 just for security.

ABC’s Jonathan Karl asked White House Press Secretary Jay Carney how much is spent for President Obama’s golf tours?

“Well, the president is the President of the United States,” Carney replied. “And he is elected to represent all of the people. And he travels around the country, appropriately. I don’t have a figure on the cost of presidential travel. It is obviously something, as every President deals with because of security and staff, a significant undertaking. But the President has to travel around the country. He has to travel around the world. That is part of his job.”

“How much does it cost for him to go and play golf?” Karl insisted.

Carney never answered the question.

The large outlay for political leaders’ quirks raises the question of how much they need to be pampered to keep from collapsing under the strain of public office.

“Bibi is king, and in a monarchy, when the king and queen fly, price is no object,” political commentator Sima Kadmon wrote in Israel’s Yediot Acharonot.

The president’s total impersonal expenditures are estimated at $1.4 billion a year, and that more or less is the same level of spending in the Bush administration.

But there is a limit, morally. Can Prime Minister Netanyahu function without so much ice cream, even without taking into account that he can do without the calories?

And does the White House really have to spend more than $250,000 a year on flowers, the figure that is an official government statistic?

Battering Netanyahu is popular and often justified, and the results are positive. Bedroom flights to Europe have been scrapped, and the ice cream budget has melted.

Now let’s see if Obama starts playing less golf.

Airline Strike Ends after Deal with El Al

Monday, April 22nd, 2013

The Histadrut national labor union has called off its planned shutdown of Ben Gurion Airport Tuesday morning, and workers of Israeli airlines have ended their strike following a special agreement between the government and El Al.

The agreement was signed Monday evening in Israel, less than two hours before the Labor Court was to meet on a petition to issue an injunction against shutting down the airport.

Flights of El Al, Israir and Arkia airlines have been grounded since Sunday because of the Open Skies agreement that the Cabinet approved at the beginning of the week.

The Finance Ministry agreed to reimburse El Al for almost of all of its extraordinary security expenses, which make it less competitive against European airlines that can fly more planes to Israel under the Open Skies agreement.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/airline-strike-ends-after-deal-with-el-al/2013/04/22/

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