Israel on Friday helped more than 2000 citizens leave Turkey, where they were stranded because Turkish Airlines would not fly them back to Tel Aviv.
2,000 Israelis Leave via Athens
Israel has assisted more than 2000 citizens stuck in Turkey, Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz announced Friday morning, after a worldwide flight ban bandwagon had left tens of thousands stranded in regional airports.
Katz wrote that the 2000 Israelis have been successfully moved to Athens, where they were scheduled to be flown later in the day back to Israel.
Quoting the Torah principle that “all of Israel is responsible for one another,” Katz also vowed to “make an accounting” with Turkish Airlines over the stranded passengers.
“I will make an accounting with Turkish Airlines, who behaved shamefully,” Katz stated.
On Thursday, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) lifted its two-day ban on US airlines flying into or out of Ben Gurion International Airport, Israel’s only international hub. European airlines later followed suit.
Israel had warned of the economic impact of the ban by many world airlines and said that it would be a win for Hamas, who hailed the suspension as a “great victory.”
Turkey’s national carrier was originally slated to work with El-Al, Israel’s national carrier to help return stranded passengers home, after smaller carriers stopped flights to Ben-Gurion airport – but later, apparently, failed to lift its own ban as well.
Overnight Thursday/Friday, El-Al conducted three special flights to Athens; another ‘rescue flight’ was sent by Arkia. The Ministry of Transport scrambled to bring every Israeli stranded in Turkey home before the Sabbath.
Anti-Semitism Skyrocketed in Turkey
Anti-Semitism has skyrocketed in Turkey since Israel launched its self-defense operation against Gaza, Operation Protective Edge.
Israeli tourists in Turkey told Arutz Sheva reporters Thursday that they had been ordered to leave their hotel in the middle of their vacation and return home by the hotel staff, who unceremoniously booted them from the establishment due to their nationality. Arutz Sheva has not been able to locate the stranded tourists since and it is unclear whether they have made it home to Israel as of Friday morning.
Source: This article appeared on Israel National News (Arutz Sheva).