Photo Credit: Olivier Fitoussi / Flash 90
El Al airplanes parked at the Ben-Gurion International Airport in Lod, Israel, on Aug. 3, 2020.

El Al Airlines announced this weekend that it will end its discount for donated items being sent to Israel.

The airline cited reduced need for the donations — mostly military and medical supplies — as the state’s purchasing began to catch up and as other airlines which had stopped flying to Israel began to resume service.

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The Israel Defense Forces maintains there are no shortages of equipment. However, troops in the field tell another tale.

Logistics officers and battlefield commanders are continuing to appeal for updated helmets, rifle scopes, thermal drones and night vision equipment.

Effective June 15 (Saturday) duffel bags being sent to Israel by nonprofit organizations will cost $200 each. Up to this point, charities sending the duffel bags were charged $50 per bag.

The increase is costing charity organizations thousands more.

“Today, we have a flight with 40-50 bags of equipment destined for Israel. Instead of $2,000, we’ll now pay $8,000,” said Adi Vaxman, head of the Operation Israel nonprofit organization. The all-volunteer group has shipped from the US and in Israel more than $8.5 Millions dollars’ worth of critical gear to Israel’s front lines, complementing the efforts of the Israeli Defense Forces.

“Donations have slowed, making it hard to secure them,” Vaxman lamented. “The additional $6,000 we had to pay could have purchased two portable ultrasound devices, 143 tactical tourniquets, 184 pairs of ballistic glasses, or 214 tactical flashlights instead.

“This rate increase during a war, where our soldiers risk their lives daily, feels like a slap in the face. It affects the fighters and rapid response team members who risk their lives every day,” Vaxman added. She urged El Al to reinstate the reduced rate for donation bags “to support Israel and our brave soldiers.”

The airline introduced the discount baggage program after Gaza’s Iranian-backed Hamas terrorist organization launched its war against Israel with an invasion and massacre of 1,200 people on October 7th. Another 250 people were abducted the same day.


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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.