Michael Bloomberg, the former New York mayor and billionaire, flew into Israel's Ben Gurion airport this week in a move he hopes will spurn the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration to reconsider its recent travel ban after a Hamas-fired missile was launched roughly a mile away on Tuesday.
"This evening I will be flying on El Al to Tel Aviv to show solidarity with the Israeli people and to demonstrate that it is safe to fly in and out of Israel," Bloomberg said Tuesday in a statement, according to Politico
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"Ben Gurion is the best protected airport in the world and El Al flights have been regularly flying in and out of it safely. The flight restrictions are a mistake that hand Hamas an undeserved victory and should be lifted immediately. I strongly urge the FAA to reverse course and permit U.S. airlines to fly to Israel," he continued.
The FAA suspended flights in and out of Ben Gurion International Airport early on Tuesday for 24 hours. According to Time magazine
, a Delta flight from JFK in New York had to be re-routed mid-flight after the missile was fired, and roughly 400 Israel-bound passengers ended up in Paris instead.
By the time the ban was announced, all major carriers offering flights from the U.S. to Israel, including Delta, US Airways, and United, had already suspended their fights.
that Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman thanked Bloomberg for drawing attention to the issue, calling him "a true friend of Israel."
Bloomberg has been a longtime supporter of Israel, and there is even a medical facility in Jerusalem named after his late mother.
Flights were also suspended to and from Tel Aviv in 1991, when missiles were fired by Iraq.
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