El Al ceases non-stop flights to Ireland, Morocco

El Al aviation VP Shlomi Zafarani cited a lack of demand for the destinations as the reason for the closure.

By Troy O. Fritzhand, The Algemeiner

Israel’s national airline El Al has decided not to restart nonstop routes from Tel Aviv to Dublin and Marrakesh. The move comes as relations between Israel Ireland and Morocco have soured since the war.

“Since the outbreak of the war, El Al has made sure to strengthen the network of routes to the desired destinations in order to continue to preserve air bridge,” said VP of commercial and aviation relations Shlomi Zafarani. “In view of the situation, we frequently monitor the changes in customer preferences and the intensity of demand, and as part of adjusting our mix of destinations, we have decided not to renew the routes to Ireland and Morocco for the upcoming summer season. The improvement of the flight schedule allows us to add during the summer season about 500 flights on popular routes others in Europe, and to connect Israel to a wide variety of destinations around the world, while exploring new possibilities,” he continued.

The Dublin route was relatively new, having only launched in March 2023 and slated for summer flights only. Among many flight routes operating at the onset of the war, the Dublin flight was postponed until the situation became more clear. Ireland’s Prime Minister Leo Varadkar has been vocal about calling for a ceasefire to the current war, saying “I think the European Union has lost credibility because of our inability to take a stronger and more united position on Israel and Palestine… to a new peace process and Palestinian statehood, which is the only way to secure justice and security for everyone living in the region.” Their President Michael D. Higgins has called the European Union’s approach to the war “thoughtless and reckless.”

Read  Ireland to back South Africa in ICJ case against Israel

There is widespread popular support within Ireland for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement (BDS), which calls for the boycott of goods and services originating from Israel. The movement is widely seen as a delegitimizing tactic against the Jewish state and according to the ADL, it “believes that many of the founding goals of the BDS movement, which effectively reject or ignore the Jewish people’s right of self-determination, or that, if implemented, would result in the eradication of the world’s only Jewish state, are antisemitic.

The Morocco route was more historic, as it was opening between the Jewish state and an Arab country. The first flights, launched in July of 2021, caused much fanfare as a tangible result of the 2020 Abraham Accords, a landmark peace deal brokered by the United States between Israel, Morocco, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain. It also allowed the estimated 900,000 Israeli Jews of Moroccan descent to visit a country that was otherwise a relic of the past to those who immigrated to Israel after the state’s establishment in 1948.

Since the war began, hundreds of thousands of Moroccans have protested in support of the Palestinians, and have called on their government to cut ties with Israel. The government has taken an anti-Israel stance, though not as forceful as other Arab states. The government has called Israel’s war: “Israel’s persistence in its blatant aggression against unarmed civilians.” It further has not condemned Hamas’s attack, with claimed the lives of more than 1,200 Israelis and resulted in over 240 taken hostage.

Read  Ireland to back South Africa in ICJ case against Israel