Friday, July 14, 2017

Direct Flights from Israel to Saudi Arabia - Maybe

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:

Israel's Minister of Transportation, a Druze named Ayoub Kara, has suggested direct flights from Israel to Saudi Arabia exclusively to accommodate Hajj pilgrims.
Ideally, the flights would be direct and nonstop. The next best alternative would be to have the flights touchdown in Jordan before continuing on to Saudi Arabia.

This year the Hajj begins on August 30th and ends on September 4th.

Obviously there are no diplomatic relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia - but there certainly is exceptional and continued real communication taking place behind closed doors.

About 6,000 Israelis travel to Mecca each year as part of the Hajj. The distance between Mecca and Tel Aviv is about 1,000 miles. These flights would make the pilgrims' trip so much easier. They would be a special set of charter flights to serve a specific population for a specific purpose and a special, limited, goal.

Interestingly, there is precedent for the flights. The first person to make the direct flight from Saudi Arabia to Tel Aviv was US President Donald Trump on his first international trip as president. He flew directly from Saudi Arabia to Israel while all the planes accompanying him had to stop over in Cyprus.

If these flights are approved, it could pave the way for more expanded relations between Saudi Arabia and Israel, or, like the flights themselves, it could be a one time, limited run exception.

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