Bar Refaeli’s Wedding? Close the Airspace, of Course

It seems the move was designed more to protect the wedding guests’ privacy than public safety.

Haaretz Editorial
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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
Haaretz Editorial

Milestones in aviation history:

1903 The Wright Brothers’ first flight.

1927 Charles Lindbergh makes the first solo flight across the Atlantic.

1947 Chuck Yeager breaks the sound barrier.

1969 Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walk on the moon.

2015 Airspace closed around Bar Refaeli’s wedding.

What’s the link between a private wedding of two people, however happy they may be, and a directive telling pilots to avoid the area from the evening until well after midnight?

Anyone asking that question probably doesn’t live in modern-day Israel. Bar Refaeli, clothing and sunglasses supermodel and television star, is about to put an end to years of singlehood. Around a dozen years have passed since her previous marriage, which was intended either to formalize an immature romance or keep her from having to serve in the army. The match was a failure, and both the wedding and the divorce were quiet affairs that didn’t disrupt aviation.

Not this time. Over the past decade, Refaeli has become a national institution. The nation followed with bated breath as her social life climbed to the highest height: Leonardo DiCaprio. The tension dropped when we learned she had accepted a marriage proposal but rallied when the guest list was composed.

The Israeli masses will have to settle for viewing the images taken at ground level, as usual, as well as from helicopters, drones and a hot-air balloon. Because of these aircraft, the airspace surrounding the wedding is being closed.

Meanwhile, the head of the Civil Aviation Authority, Brig. Gen. (ret.) Joel Feldschuh, is a former F-15 fighter pilot. He has moved to preclude a midair collision or other mishap, claiming that he was only thinking of the public’s welfare. His decision caused an uproar, and justifiably so.

According to civil aviation sources, such bans are rare. During mass outdoor events like concerts at Tel Aviv’s Hayarkon Park, pilots are usually advised to avoid the area, but they aren’t banned altogether. It seems the move was designed more to protect the wedding guests’ privacy than public safety.

The question is whether every bridal couple will be granted the same protection if they request it, or whether it’s a privilege for celebrities of a certain stature. If that’s the case, does the aviation chief keep an eligibility ranking based on the fame of the happy couple? Or maybe he simply hoped to snag an invitation to the prestigious event?

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