El Al Israel Airlines plane (Moshe Shai/Flash90) (Moshe Shai/Flash90)
El Al

El Al, Israel’s national carrier, has canceled plans to provide direct flights to the Spanish city of Santiago de Compostela after its city council adopted a resolution to boycott Israel last November.

The La Voz de Galicia newspaper reported on Wednesday that the Spanish branch of El Al had negotiated with tourism officials from the area over launching a direct flight between Santiago and Tel Aviv, but that talks failed following the approval of the boycott motion.

Tourism is a major source of income in the region Galicia, in which Santiago is situated. Santiago de Compostela is famous for the Catholic pilgrimage route known as the Way of St. James. It attracts more than 250,000 pilgrims and tourists annually to Santiago.

Walter Wasercier, the director of El Al’s Spain operations, told the newspaper that he had personally pushed for opening the flight this summer.

Some 350,000 Israeli tourists visit Spain annually.

Marta Lois, Santiago’s alderwoman for tourism, denied that talks with El Al had taken place while saying that in any case they would not have been sabotaged by the city’s resolution to boycott Israel.

The Galician Association for Friendship with Israel (ACOM in Spanish) told the Voz de Galicia that El Al opened in April a flight to Valencia instead of Santiago as a result of the boycott motion.

ACOM, a Madrid-based, pro-Israel group which is fighting the boycott campaign against Israel in Spain, blamed Santiago’s far-left ruling party of running the city “with ineptitude.”

The anti-Israel boycott movement promotes financial, academic and cultural boycotts against Israel, ostensibly as a nonviolent struggle against the so-called “Israeli occupation.”

Critics say its activities are a modern form of anti-Semitism, and its true objective is to destroy the State of Israel.

By: United with Israel Staff