Published Tuesday, October 10, 2023 4:59 PM IST
As previously reported, Chaim V’Chessed continues to be inundated with calls from tourists who came to Israel for Sukkos and now find themselves stranded, as their flights home have been canceled. Most airlines have ceased operations to and from Israel. With the exception of El Al, no direct flights are operating to or from the USA. Some larger airlines like Turkish Air and British Air continue to operate.
There has been considerable talk of charter flights set to leave Israel. As of now, these flights have largely not materialized. The handful which do seem poised to operate are long sold out. Some travelers have succeeded in purchasing tickets to random destinations such as Athens, Cyprus and Dubai, and making their way home from there.
Chaim V’Chessed has dialogued with State Department officials, seeking an avenue for these US citizens to return home. However, we have not seen much practical movement or definitive plans on their part. The officials have averred that ‘there is no emergency; the airport is open’. While it is technically true that Ben Gurion Airport remains open, this is disingenuous, as there are scarcely any flights available.
We have been in contact with numerous elected officials who are attempting to alleviate the situation. Rep. Mike Lawler (R-NY) sent a letter to Secretary of State Anthony Blinken urging his involvement in this troubling situation. It would certainly be beneficial if other Congressmen and Senators get involved in this effort, as well.
Lastly, a report circulating on the Internet claims that the US is considering using US Navy boats to extract its citizens. To the best of our understanding, there is no basis or official corroboration for this report.