update deskIsrael at War

Azerbaijan to resume Israel flights

The carrier will operate three weekly flights this month, and increase it to nine starting in April.

Heydar Aliyev International Airport in Baku, Azerbaijan. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.
Heydar Aliyev International Airport in Baku, Azerbaijan. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

Azerbaijan will renew direct flights to Tel Aviv next week, despite the five-month-old war against Hamas in Gaza.

The state-run Azerbaijan Airlines will resume direct flights from Baku to Tel Aviv starting March 19. The carrier will operate three weekly flights this month, and increase it to nine starting in April.

The airline had suspended flights to Israel along with most international airlines amid the war sparked by Hamas’s Oct. 7 massacre.

“Looking forward to having more Israeli tourists in Azerbaijan with just a 3-hour flight,” tweeted Azerbaijani Ambassador to Israel Mukhtar Mammadov.

Last year, Azerbaijan made history by becoming the first Shi’ite country to open an embassy in Israel.

For Israel, ties with Azerbaijan—which shares a 428-mile border with Iran and supplies and estimated 30% of the Jewish state’s oil—are of strategic importance. At the same time, Azerbaijan is a leading purchaser of Israeli military hardware, which helped lift Baku to victory in its 2020 war with archrival Armenia.

In the latest defense cooperation between the two countries, Azerbaijan recently purchased an Israeli aerial radar system dubbed “Sky Dew” which detects high altitude threats including cruise missiles and drones, according to Azerbaijani media reports. The aerostat can maintain continuous surveillance for several days and is capable of tracking up to 500 targets with a detection range of over 155 miles.

Last month, the presidents of Israel and Azerbaijan met in Germany, reaffirming the strength of the bilateral ties between the two countries even as the war against Hamas rages in Gaza.

The diplomatic meet between Isaac Herzog and Azerbaijani leader Ilham Aliyev on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference highlighted the strength of the enduring relations between the Jewish state and the predominantly Shi’ite Muslim country.

About 25,000-30,000 Jews live in Azerbaijan today, while tens of thousands of Jews from Azerbaijan immigrated to Israel and maintain strong ties with the Caucasus nation.

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