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Flight with 12 Israelis makes emergency touchdown in Malaysia

The Foreign Ministry coordinated with the airline to contact one of the Israeli passengers since the Jewish state has no diplomatic relationship with Malaysia.

Emirates Airline. Credit: Courtesy.
Emirates Airline. Credit: Courtesy.

An Emirates plane heading from Singapore to Dubai with 12 Israeli citizens onboard made an emergency landing in Malaysia on Wednesday morning, the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem said.

Emirates flight EK354 had to make an unscheduled stop in Kuala Lumpur due to “adverse weather conditions.”

The Foreign Ministry subsequently coordinated with the airline to contact one of the Israeli passengers since the Jewish state has no diplomatic relationship with Malaysia.

“During their stay on Malaysian soil, the passengers were not required to disembark, and after approximately five hours of waiting on the tarmac, the flight resumed its journey to Singapore,” the ministry stated.

Emirates added: “We regret any inconvenience caused, but the safety of our passengers is our top priority.”

Malaysia has never recognized Israel, and citizens of the Jewish state are banned from entering the country. The Muslim-majority country is considered particularly hostile to Israel. In 2018, its then-leader, Mahathir Mohamad, labeled Jews as “hook-nosed” and condemned Israel for creating chaos in the Middle East.

In recent years, Israeli security services have uncovered various instances of Hamas terrorists receiving military training in Malaysia, often with the tacit approval of local authorities. Hamas also sends Palestinian students to Malaysia for cyber-warfare training, Israeli media reported late last year.

On Aug. 29, a commercial flight from the Seychelles to Tel Aviv carrying 128 Israelis made an unscheduled landing in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Air Seychelles flight HM022 was forced to land due to an electrical problem.

The travelers spent a night at an airport hotel in the Red Sea port city of Jeddah. The next day, they departed Jeddah International Airport on a replacement Air Seychelles plane that was flown in from Dubai. The passengers were reportedly not allowed to leave their hotel rooms during the stay.

“I very much appreciate the warm attitude of the Saudi authorities toward the Israeli passengers whose plane was in distress and had to make an emergency landing,” said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a video message that was subtitled in Arabic.

“I’m glad everyone is coming home. Thank you for the good neighborliness,” he added.

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