Eli Dapas (Defes), chairman of Israel’s leading airline El Al, warns in a letter to the deputy head of Israel’s National Security Council Eytan Ben-David and the Director General of the Prime Minister’s Office Yoav Horowitz that all Israeli airlines will stop flying from January 1, 2019, because of security concerns abroad, according to the Hebrew-language newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth published this Sunday.
The reason for all flights being halted is the refusal of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to continue employing security guards worldwide, Eli Dapas said in the letter.
Indeed, Dapas received a letter from the Director-General of the Foreign Ministry saying the Ministry will no longer employ security workers at foreign airports after January 1, 2019, because no agreement has been reached between the Ministry and these 1,200 employees serving as assistants of security officers in the destinations flown by Israeli international airlines El Al, Arkia and Israir.
The ministry appears to be insisting on its position, placing the winter schedule of the Israeli airlines in jeopardy. The ministry is telling El Al that it will have to find solutions by itself, which could mean employing local security personnel, changing a system that has been in place for many years. The Ministry of Finance currently pays 90% of the overseas security costs of Israeli airlines, amounting to hundreds of millions of shekels annually.
The Office of Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu, however, said the issue was expected to be resolved within the next few days.