Photo Credit: Tsahi Ben-Ami / Flash 90
El Al Airlines, the national airline of Israel

Jerusalem resident Eli Rozenberg last week was finally granted a permit by the State of Israel to control national carrier El Al Airlines, with one caveat: he is required to appoint a CEO and board of directors with at least five years’ experience in aviation management, and/or previous employment experience as senior executives with publicly traded companies.

Rozenberg, age 26, does not yet have the requisite experience in business management to fit the bill. However, the holding company he set up to take control of the airline — Kanfei Nesharim Aviation — said in a statement, “We will restore customers’ confidence in the company and with cooperation from employees we will put it back on the runway for takeoff.”

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According to the Globes business news site, the first order of business facing the national carrier is the issue of contending with the many thousands of travelers seeking refunds on their canceled flights, dating back to March 2020. The airline is legally required to reimburse these passengers for their tickets starting from October 1.

Rozenberg purchased a 43 percent stake in the airline for $107 million in its public offering after outbidding other contenders and a dogfight with the airline’s board of directors and prior controlling shareholders, Knafaim Holdings Ltd.

“With receipt of the permit, Kanfei Nesharim Aviation will contact El Al immediately in order to replace the company’s board of directors and allow it to begin to manage the company while setting the necessary priorities for recovery,” Rozenberg’s new company said.

“Kanfei Nesharim Aviation intends appointing to the El Al board of directors leading professionals with major experience in the areas of finance, law, aviation and security. We plan acting immediately to raise $250 million in additional debt from banks with a 75 percent guarantee from the state.”

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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.