Many passengers were shocked at being welcomed to “Palestine” upon arriving in Tel Aviv via Iberia, Spain’s flag carrier and largest airline.
Spanish-speaking passengers arriving at Israel’s Ben-Gurion Airport on Wednesday from Madrid via Iberia, Spain’s largest airline, were appalled to hear the flight captain welcoming them to “Tel Aviv, Palestine.” He then repeated the greeting in English, saying they had arrived in Tel Aviv but leaving out “Palestine.” He did not mention Israel.
“Everyone began to whisper, we were simply in shock. I don’t understand why he said that. We live in the State of Israel and he was supposed to say Israel,” one passenger told Israel’s Channel 2 TV.
It must have been “intentional,” he added.
Another passenger sent a letter of complaint to the airline, saying, “My family and I were terrible offended. It was not at all acceptable and has done a disservice to your company.”
According to Times of Israel, the Spanish news website 20 Minutos reported on Thursday morning that the Israeli ambassador in Madrid penned a “tough letter” to the president of Iberia, requesting that he take disciplinary measures against the pilot.
An Iberia spokeswoman in Israel apologized on behalf of the airline following a request by Channel 2. The captain who welcomed the passengers to “Palestine” made a “mistake,” she said, and will not fly to Israel again until the matter is investigated further.
“We have been flying to Tel Aviv for a long time, and we know the city is in the State of Israel. We even promoted tourism in Tel Aviv in our magazine,” she added.
By: Terri Nir, United with Israel
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