(JNS.org) Former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg flew to Tel Aviv on Tuesday night in response to the Federal Aviation Authority’s (FAA) ban on U.S. flights to Israel.
The FAA suspension came after a rocket landed near Israel’s Ben Gurion Airport. All three U.S. airlines providing service to Israel—Delta, U.S. Airways, and United—were forced to cancel flights to the Jewish state, but the Israeli airline El Al continued service.
“This evening I will be flying on El Al to Tel Aviv to show solidarity with the Israeli people and to demonstrate that it is safe to fly in and out of Israel,” Bloomberg said in a statement. “Ben Gurion is the best protected airport in the world and El Al flights have been regularly flying in and out of it safely. The flight restrictions are a mistake that hands Hamas an undeserved victory and should be lifted immediately. I strongly urge the FAA to reverse course and permit U.S. airlines to fly to Israel.”
Robert G. Sugarman and Malcolm Hoenlein, leaders of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, on Wednesday praised Bloomberg “for his demonstrative act of solidarity and confidence, flying to Israel on El Al Airlines last night.”
“There are many missions going to Israel to show support for the people of Israel at this difficult time,” Sugarman and Hoenlein said. “The absence of travelers not only has a strong economic impact but also a psychological one. When the streets and restaurants are empty, it increases the sense of isolation. In fact, Israel’s American friends and supporters, Jews and non-Jews alike, stand with Israel in record numbers. We understand that Israel’s plight is our plight. Hamas wants to destroy Israel, but also the United States, and the values both countries share. We should not encourage them by invoking a ban on air flights.”