Israel-Dubai flights may stop due to security risks

As Shin Bet and local authorities work out dispute over security coordination, flights between Tel Aviv and Dubai may be grounded.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

Just 14 months after the first-ever commercial flight from Tel Aviv to Dubai took off, Israeli flights to the UAE city may be grounded due to concerns that Israel’s Shin Bet security agency would be unable to provide adequate security at the airport in the Gulf kingdom.

Axios journalist Barak Ravid wrote on Twitter that flights from Israel to Dubai could be suspended as early as February 8, due to serious challenges around security coordination.

The possibility was confirmed by the Shin Bet in a statement to the Jerusalem Post.

“Over the past few months, security disputes have been revealed between the competent bodies in Dubai and the Israeli aviation security system in a way that does not allow for the responsible enactment of security for Israeli aviation,” the agency said.

However, the Shin Bet noted that Israelis who waed to visit the UAE for business or pleasure will still be able to do so via direct flights to the Emirates’ capital city, Abu Dhabi.

The security agency also made it clear that the disagreements between the authorities at Dubai airport and the Shin Bet did not stem from profiling practices, in which Muslim and/or Arab passengers bound for Israel are singled out for additional security checks.

“It should be emphasized that the disputes are [regarding] a security basis that is contrary to the standards used at the airport in Dubai, and do not come from a political or regional basis at all,” the statement added.

The news that Israeli flights to Dubai may be cancelled over security concerns comes on the heels of escalating tensions between the UAE and Houthi rebels in Yemen’s south.

The Iran-backed Houthis have launched a number of ballistic missile attacks aimed at UAE in recent weeks, including one aimed at Abu Dhabi during a historic visit last week by Israeli President Isaac Herzog.