Israel Air Force planes fly over Tel Aviv. .
(photo credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)
To His Royal Highness Mohammed bin Salman, Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia.
My name is Meidan Bar and I was born and raised in Israel. I served as a pilot in the Israel Air Force and currently work as a pilot for El Al Airlines.
You and I are about the same age, which is the average age of pilots flying for a typical Israeli commercial airline. We can both agree that it is very likely that pilots our age who work for Israeli airlines have a high chance during their lifetime of benefiting from the regional geopolitical developments that will permit them to fly over Saudi Arabia after passing through Jordanian airspace on their way to Qatar and on to India.
The changes taking place in the Arab world and the Middle East are creating prospects for hope and victory. They have the potential to help us realize our vision and take advantage of the airspace in a mutually beneficial manner. In the near future, Saudi planes will pass over Jerusalem on their way to London, and Israeli planes will enter Saudi airspace on their way to the Far East.
There are holy Islamic sites and the Arabic language is spoken in both countries. All the planes the Saudis and Israelis fly were manufactured in the same country – the US – and we often come face-to-face at professional conferences or during joint military maneuvers. At each of these encounters, we discover once again that we are all just regular, warm and polite human beings. We smile at each other, shake hands, and are not afraid to share our political views and our hopes for a better future.
His Royal Highness, the Crown Prince, the time has come to make a change. It is up to us to lead the transformation and not just follow the wind. Saudi pilots speak the international language of civil aviation perfectly, as do their Israeli counterparts. They all use the same professional terms and face common challenges, and the cockpit is a space that is relatively free of political noise.
This coming May, the Israeli Airline Pilots Association will be holding the Israel Aviation Conference, the most important aviation conference in the Middle East. We invite the pilots of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to join us as honored guests, and would be thrilled to see them participating in plenum session discussions. We can deliberate on common challenges we both face and together we can search for solutions.
We both know that the global problems we currently face require us to think globally in order to reach resolutions. We also both know that such a meeting could be a confidence-building measure, which is a prerequisite for executing any future political moves.
The flight from Tel Aviv to Riyadh takes about the same amount of time as a flight to Athens. We have here in Israel airport ground services that can service your Boeing and Airbus planes. We are reaching out a welcoming hand to you and are offering Saudi Arabia a flight plan for flying over Israeli airspace. We propose this modestly and honestly, with open hearts and minds.
Aviation is the passport to a working partnership. It is the bridge between our two countries, and a common language we can use to communicate with each other. We would like to take advantage of this commonality to invite you for a visit.
Most bridges in the world are constructed from iron and concrete. We have now before us an opportunity to build a bridge made from courage and vision, which are stronger than both of these materials. The thousand Israeli members of the Israeli Pilots Association are collectively opening their doors to their fellow Saudi pilots. Our air traffic controllers are standing at the ready up in the tower in Tel Aviv, on duty to grant you clearance for landing, and we will be there on the runway to welcome you when you land.
Captain Meidan Bar
Chair of the Israeli Airline Pilots AssociationTranslated by Hannah Hochner.
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