Air India rescues 316 stranded Israelis from India

Israel’s ambassador in New Delhi personally escorted the passengers to the plane and provided them with food for the trip back home.

By Aaron Sull, World Israel News

An Air India charted flight from New Delhi carrying 316 Israelis landed at Ben Gurion’s empty airport on Thursday night thanks to the strong coordination between the Israeli embassy and Indian government.

Ron Malka, Israel’s ambassador in New Delhi,  personally escorted the passengers to the plane and provided them with food for the trip back home.

“I thank and appreciate the @airindiain flight staff who are responsibly and selflessly ensuring that Israelis get home safe. Dhanyavad from the bottom of our heart,” Malka tweeted after takeoff.

Considering both countries are on lockdown, it took awhile for Israel’s embassy to deal with logistical problems, such as visa extensions, passport renewals, and coordinating a police escort to New Delhi’s airport.

Pankaj Tiwari, Air India’s country manager in Tel Aviv, told India’s PTI news agency how thankful he was for the airline’s selfless service, whose employees, “in such difficult circumstances rose to the occasion keeping aside their personal interests to make this flight a reality.”

“Whenever such call of service is made, Air India will always be in the forefront and do their best to safely unite the passengers to their families,” he said.

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With Israel’s airspace closed and many other nations in lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, Israeli embassies worldwide are working hard on getting stranded Israelis back home

Last week, three El Al planes left Israel to rescue approximately 1,000 stranded Israelis in Peru, most of whom had been traveling in the South American country after completing their army service.

The difficult mission to rescue the stranded Israelis was arranged in a coordinated effort with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Foreign Minister Israel Katz, El Al, and Peruvian officials.