Ex-NYC Mayor Bloomberg to Fly to Tel Aviv in Solidarity With Israel, Despite U.S. Flights Ban

Bloomberg urges FAA to permit U.S. airlines to fly to Israel, says restrictions hand Hamas 'undeserved victory.'

Michael Bloomberg.
Michael Bloomberg. AP

Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has urged the Federal Aviation Administration to "reverse course" and permit U.S. airlines to fly to Israel.

Bloomberg said he will fly on El Al to Tel Aviv on Tuesday night to "show solidarity with the Israeli people and to demonstrate that it is safe to fly in and out of Israel."

In a statement, he said: "The U.S. flight restrictions are a mistake that hands Hamas an underserved victory and should be lifted immediately."

The FAA imposed a 24-hour ban Tuesday on flights to Israel after Delta and other U.S. airlines canceled trips to the country following Tuesday's rocket attack on Yehud, a town just a few miles from Ben-Gurion airport.

Delta Airlines issued a separate statement announcing they are suspending all their flights indefinitely.

Several European airlines have also suspended their flights to and from Israel. KLM canceled its Amsterdam-Tel Aviv flight on Tuesday, Lufthansa - which includes Germanwings, Austrian Airlines and Swiss Air - suspended all flights for the next 36 hours, and Air France suspended flights indefinitely.

On Tuesday evening, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asked U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to intervene to resume U.S. flights to Israel, sources in the Prime Minister's Office said.

The last time there was a wide-scale suspension of flights to Israel by foreign airlines was in early 1991, when Iraqi Scud missiles were falling on Israel during the First Gulf War.