Foreign Ministry Repeats Warning to Airlines of Security Shutdown

YERUSHALAYIM -
Eli Defes, Chairman of El Al’s Board of Directors, at a press conference in Tel Aviv in March, 2018. (Flash90)

Security provisions for Israeli airlines after the end of this year remain uncertain and could conceivably result in the grounding of all flight operations abroad, Globes reported on Sunday.

While El Al claimed that the issue of the looming termination of security personnel at airports overseas by the Foreign Ministry, which is responsible for employing them, had been resolved, the Ministry said it had not.

Last Thursday, El Al chairman Eli Defes wrote to Eytan Ben-David, acting head of the National Security Council, and Prime Minister Netanyahu’s chief of staff Yoav Horowitz, stating that the carrier had been notified by phone in August that security provisions had been agreed and the winter schedules were no longer in jeopardy.

“Accordingly, you gave approval to El Al’s security division to publish the winter schedules of the Israeli airlines,” Defes wrote, and acknowledged that without the deployment of security personnel hired by the Ministry, the airlines would be unable to ply their routes.

However, a spokesperson for the Foreign Ministry replying to query from Globes denied this, saying, “Our stance on the matter has not changed.” The Ministry has issued a series of warnings to El Al about the situation.

If so, it means that approximately 1,200 people working in security at El Al Arkia, and Israir check-ins in foreign airports will be unemployed as of January 2019, unless a solution is found. Cancellation of the winter schedule would, of course, have a dire impact on the entire Israeli airline industry.

Flight security for Israeli airlines operating abroad is regulated by the Israel Security Agency (ISA). Ninety percent of financing is provided by the Finance Ministry.