Ben-Gurion Airport to Open Place of Worship for Muslims

The Israel Airports Authority (IAA) intends to establish a Muslim prayer room at Ben-Gurion International Airport, according to the IAA Director-General Gabi Ophir.

Ophir said yesterday he has instructed the airport's management to set up a room designated for Muslim prayers, as part of IAA efforts to improve services to passengers.

The roughly 20-square-meter room will be erected in the airport's main terminal, Terminal 3. The plan was formulated by a senior Interior Ministry official.

"The initiative to set up the prayer room is an additional element in the efforts the IAA is making in order to strengthen ties with the Arab sector, [and follows] requests that the IAA set up a prayer room," said Ophir.

A water trough for washing feet and hands and a bench will be placed at the entrance to the room. The room will also be carpeted and will have a delineated alcove that faces Mecca. The room will also include a collection of copies of the Koran.

The initiative is one of a series of steps the IAA is taking to improve relations with the Arab sector, first and foremost of which is the establishment of a special team that will be in charge of providing customer service to Arabic-speaking passengers. The IAA has also launched an Arabic-language Web site.