Israel Apologizes for Denying Entry to Four African Generals

The generals had arranged their visit five days prior and were accompanied by an Israeli official and a senior air force officer when told they could not enter Herzliya airport.

Four generals from an African country were denied entry Friday to Herzliya Airport by the security chief there, even though their visit had been arranged five days earlier and they were accompanied by an Israeli official and a senior air force officer.

After a long delay, the group was forced to depart after lodging a protest, and the Airports Authority has apologized.

The Israeli official was acting as their guide, and the senior air force officer was to pilot the aircraft that would fly them over the country.

Planes on the tarmac at Herzliya Airport
Tal Cohen

First-degree scandal

"This is a scandal of the first degree and shameful for the State of Israel. These are four senior officers from an African country who were here on a procurement tour of defense firms," said a senior official in the aviation industry who helped prepare the special flight over the country.

"They were earlier on IDF bases with high degrees of security clearance. They visited secret industrial facilities, and of all places - a civilian airfield in Herzliya - they were refused entry, even though the details of their arrival and their private flight had been relayed as required by the head of the Airports Authority. Someone needs to be held accountable for this."

A spokeswoman for the Israel Airports Authority, Ronit Eckstein, said that "the Airports Authority has apologized for the delay. The Airports Authority promises that it will do everything possible to prevent such incidents from recurring in the future."