Israeli airline El Al will fly for the first time in 41 years on Saturday: they will fly from New York
Israel’s national carrier will bring back reserve soldiers from New York and Bangkok as part of emergency rescue flights as the IDF prepares for a long war with the terrorist group Hamas, the Times of Israel reports.
El Al Israel Airlines announced on Thursday, October 12, that for the first time since 1982 it will fly on the Jewish Sabbath to bring back Israelis conscripted into the reserves, as well as security and rescue workers stranded abroad.
Israel’s national airline said it is preparing to operate flights from the United States and Asia to bring back Israeli army reservists, whose presence in the country is vital in the war against the Hamas terrorist group.
Reserve soldiers stationed overseas will return on Saturday, October 14, on two Boeing 787 aircraft flying out of New York and Bangkok. The costs of the flight will be covered by El Al and major US financial institutions.
Saving lives is more important than religious requirements
El Al said the violation of its long-standing no-fly policy on the Sabbath received halachic approval because rescue flights are considered part of what is called in Hebrew “pikuah nefesh,” a Jewish legal principle that saves life trumps almost all other religious requirements.
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Israel has drafted some 360,000 reservists into the army – its largest mobilization since the 1973 Yom Kippur war, when Israel called up 400,000 reservists – as the war with Hamas began on the sixth day after the Palestinian terrorist group’s devastating attack on Israeli settlements.
The IDF on Thursday stepped up preparations for a ground offensive on the Gaza Strip to destroy the terrorist group, as the death toll from the Hamas attack exceeded 1,300. The victims are mostly civilians.
Since Saturday, October 7, major international airlines have canceled dozens of flights to and from Tel Aviv, leaving tourists stranded in Israel and Israelis abroad scrambling to find ways to return home.
Earlier this week, the Knesset said it was preparing to provide $5 billion in insurance guarantees to Israeli airlines, which would allow carriers El Al, Arkia and Israir to continue repatriating Israelis from abroad amid widespread cancellations of international flights to Israel.
Without a government guarantee, Israeli airlines could lose coverage within seven days of the outbreak of war, under the terms of their policy with Inbal Insurance Company Ltd.