Israel to Close Down Airspace Over Bar Refaeli's Wedding

Supermodel's wedding to be monitored by privately hired drones, helicopters and even a hot-air balloon, leading Civil Aviation Authority to declare area a no-fly zone – but private pilots are not pleased, to say the least.

Zohar Blumenkrantz
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Bar Refaeli holds the 2009 cover of Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue, as she unveils SI One, a Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-700 wrapped with her SI image at La Guardia Aairport in NY, Feb, 11, 2009.Credit: AFP
Zohar Blumenkrantz

Celebrities often take extravagant measures to keep their private events out of the public eye, and bride-to-be Bar Refaeli is no exception. 

The Israeli supermodel has hired several drones, helicopters and a hot air balloon to secure and photograph her September 24 wedding to Israeli businessman Adi Ezra.  As a result, Israel's Civil Aviation Authority announced Friday it will close the airspace above the Carmel Forest Spa Resort, where the wedding is taking place, on the evening of the event, causing an outcry among private pilots, one of whom termed the closure "contempt toward Israel's airspace."

According to the statement released to pilots and revealed by the Israeli news website Mako, no unauthorized aircraft is to fly within 4 kilometers and below 3,000 feet of the wedding venue from 5 P.M. on September 24 to 2 A.M. on September 25. The only aircraft allowed in the area are five drones, likely hired to photograph the event, two helicopters, one of which is apparently meant to transport the bride and groom to the venue, and an observation balloon evidently meant for security and perhaps photography purposes.

A senior aviation official said civilian pilots were angered by the announcement. "What we have here is contempt toward Israel's airspace and its abuse for a celebrity's private event," the official told The Marker.

According to the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, there are no flight routes above the hotel, which is why the closure is "very odd." Pilots are often warned to stay away from major events, but no closures are imposed. The announcement, he said, makes it seems like the skies are a no man's land.

Anyone who violates the directive risks losing his pilot license.

The Civil Aviation Authority said the closure was "security instructions implemented during the activity of unmanned aircraft," and that "the instructions were published per CAA guidelines in accordance to the stipulated regulations."