Photo Credit: Adrian Pingstone / Wikimedia
United Airlines Boeing 777

The US Embassy in Jerusalem issued a blunt warning on Saturday making it perfectly clear to Americans left in Israel, Gaza and the Palestinian Authority territories that if they have any intention of returning home to the United States, they’d better get on a plane now, because time has just about run out.

“US citizens who live in or seek to travel to the United States should arrange for immediate departure to the United States, unless they are prepared to remain in Israel, the West Bank, or Gaza for an indefinite period,” the ‘health alert’ said. “Many countries are experiencing COVID-19 outbreaks and implementing travel restrictions and mandatory quarantines, closing borders, and prohibiting non-citizens from entry with no or little advance notice.”

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The alert went on to offer technical information for the only commercial flights that are still available from Ben Gurion International Airport, albeit few and far between — United Airlines, El Al and Turkish Airlines.

“United Airlines will suspend flights out of Ben Gurion Airport to the United States starting March 26. While flights remain available from Ben Gurion Airport to other international locations which may provide connections to the United States, airlines continue to cancel flights or suspend operations.

“If you choose to travel internationally, your travel plans may be severely disrupted, and you may be forced to remain outside of the United States for an indefinite time frame,” the alert warned.

“The Embassy is not able to assist with arranging commercial travel options. Many travelers worldwide have reported unexpected flight cancellations and limited flight availability,” the Embassy added.

Numerous American travelers were recently been horrified to discover this unfortunate reality at the ninth hour, to their sorrow — some without having any family in Israel to fall back upon for any place to stay. The Embassy offered the following information to help travelers expedite their plans.

If your travel has been disrupted or to make travel arrangements, please contact your airline:

United Airlines
Local: 03-5116787
U.S.: 18002258610

El Al
Local: 03-9771111

Turkish Airlines
Local: 03-6945919
International: 902124636363

Actions to Take:
· Consult the CDC website for the most up-to-date information.
· For the most recent information on what you can do to reduce your risk of contracting COVID-19, please see the CDC’s latest recommendations.
· Visit the COVID-19 crisis page on travel.state.gov for the latest information.
· Check with your airlines, cruise lines, or travel operators regarding any updated information about your travel plans and/or restrictions.

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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.
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