Should Flights Into Israel Be Stopped?

Many countries have said they are not allowing flights into Ben Gurion International Airport. Some airlines have also chosen preemptively to cancel flights to the airport before their countries have officially barred them from flying to and from Israel. A missile hitting the residential area next to Ben Gurion International Airport brought all this on. This is a very rare occurrence as Israel’s Iron Dome is 90 percent effective in shooting down missiles (note, Israel does not usually shoot down rockets heading towards uninhabited areas in order to keep costs down). The recent events of MH17 obviously had a major effect on countries and airlines decision to stop flights in to Israel. Is it right to ban flights over conflict zones?

The Israeli government insists it is safe to fly in and out of Tel Aviv. To prove they honestly believe in the safety of Ben Gurion International Airport, El Al (the national airline of Israel) flights will continue as scheduled. El Al has a safety advantage over other airlines in this situation because all El Al planes are outfitted with anti-missile technology. Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has flown into Tel Aviv to exemplify the safety of Ben Gurion International Airport. The Iron Dome does improve safety around the airport. Israel has opened Ovda Airport in Eilat for international flights in order to try to keep flights flowing as normally as possible. Ovda Airport is about a three-hour drive south of Ben Gurion International Airport, out of range of most of Hamas’s rockets.

The events of MH17 highlight the dangers of flying over active conflict zones. What happened was a tragedy however the situation in Ukraine is markedly different from the situation in Israel. No one expected Russian separatist a rocket to be fired at a civilian aircraft. The Ukraine also does not have a system to shoot down rockets; Hamas’s weapons are not as sophisticated, too. There is still danger surrounding flying in to Israel. Everyone planning to fly into Israel should be informed of the danger and make their decision to fly or not.

Conflict zones are obviously dangerous places. Understanding no two conflicts are the same is paramount when making decisions about how to deal with conflict zones. MH17 was a tragedy, but the Israel-Hamas conflict is very different from the conflict in the Ukraine. Ovda Airport should be seriously considered. Most people do not wish to visit Israel right now, yet there are those who might be part of the Israeli Defense Force or want to be with their families need away to get back to Israel. Ultimately it is a person’s decision whether or not to fly into Israel.

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