Major airlines suspend flights to Israel as violence intensifies, raising global safety concerns.
In a sobering advisory on Friday, Israel has cautioned its citizens about the perils of international travel, as hostility towards Jews and Israelis escalates in response to the ongoing conflict with Hamas in Gaza, according to official statements.
The joint communique from the prime minister’s office and the foreign ministry highlighted a disturbing uptick in life-threatening assaults, antisemitism, and incitement across various nations. This surge in violence correlates with Israel’s intensified military campaign in the Gaza Strip.
Compounding the situation, Israel has issued a top-tier travel alert specifically for Russia’s Dagestan region. This warning follows an alarming incident on Monday when a mob, predominantly young Dagestani men, violently surged through an airport terminal and onto the tarmac, aggressively seeking out Jewish passengers arriving from Tel Aviv.
The recent hostilities have sparked anti-Israel demonstrations in various parts of Europe and the Middle East, a direct consequence of Israel’s comprehensive attacks on Gaza, carried out from the air, ground, and sea.
As reported by the Hamas-controlled health ministry in Gaza, the death toll has climbed steeply, with at least 9,227 fatalities since Israel commenced its offensive. This action was in retaliation to the Oct. 7 Hamas onslaught that took the lives of 1,400 individuals—marking the single most lethal day in the nation’s 75-year history.
Impact on International Travel to Israel
Amidst this fraught backdrop, commercial airlines are exercising caution, with several major carriers ceasing operations to and from Israel. Delta Airlines, citing the “ongoing conflict in the region,” has suspended all its flights between New York and Tel Aviv until at least Nov. 21, extending similar prohibitions from Atlanta and Boston.
Last month, American Airlines announced a temporary cessation of its Tel Aviv flights, with a planned resumption on Dec. 4. In parallel, Air France has paused its services to the Israeli metropolis “until further notice,” a decision mirrored on its website. Lufthansa and Ryanair have also indicated a halt in their operations, with the German airline grounding its flights for the rest of November and Ryanair cancelling its Tel Aviv routes from mid-October to mid-December due to “operational restrictions.”
These interruptions at Ben Gurion International Airport, approximately 15 kilometers from the embattled city of Tel Aviv, underscore the widening impact of the conflict on international travel and global aviation.
A Plea for Vigilance
Israeli authorities continue to urge those abroad to maintain a heightened sense of vigilance and for those contemplating travel to reconsider their plans in light of the current circumstances. This conflict, deeply rooted and complex, shows no signs of abating and continues to affect not only regional stability but also the safety of Israelis and Jewish communities worldwide.