Israel sends Passover supplies on a rescue flight to Moldova

The rescue flight departed last Thursday with food to help the Jewish community in the eastern European country for the holiday that is just over a month away.

The kosher nutritional goods at Ben-Gurion Airport, on their way to Moldova to serve the Jewish community for the Passover holiday.  (photo credit: Courtesy)
The kosher nutritional goods at Ben-Gurion Airport, on their way to Moldova to serve the Jewish community for the Passover holiday.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
For Israelis who have been stuck overseas, rescue flights have been a godsend. Israir Airlines, which sent a flight to Moldova last Thursday to bring Israelis home ahead of the country’s flight limitations, included about half a ton of kosher for Passover foods for the local Jewish community.
Rabbi Pinchas Saltzman, the rabbi of the Jewish community in Moldova, accompanied the supplies – which included kosher wine, meat and dried goods – to help unload and organize them as Passover looms a little more than one month away.
Saltzman thanked Israir CEO Uri Sirkis for his generosity, noting that if the food were not sent now, the Jewish community in Moldova would have had a difficult time securing kosher for Passover food.
The Moldovan government’s National Public Health Emergency Commission issued a state-of-emergency notice for the country on Monday, which is slated to stay in effect until April 15. The policy includes a limited capacity of airport services, though the Chisinau International Airport remains operational.
Commercial airlines are given the discretion of deciding independently whether to stop or resume services during the state of emergency.
The Moldovan government cited rising cases of COVID-19 throughout the country as the reason for the limitations on movement and activity.
According to the official government’s website, cases spiked some 17% in just one week. As of Sunday, there are more than 170,000 confirmed cases in Moldova.
Since Israel lifted its airport ban in December, thousands of locals took advantage of the open border to fly out of the country. Many faced complications as it went into a third lockdown while they were overseas, initiating an airport shutdown. The government’s coronavirus cabinet on Sunday approved a plan to allow up to 2,000 travelers stuck abroad to land daily in Ben-Gurion Airport from February 20 to 28.
Last week, El Al won an exclusive bid by the Civil Aviation Authority to run emergency flights to rescue Israelis overseas, including from Dubai. Israir is the only exception, having operated the flights to and from Frankfurt, a common stopover destination for Israelis attempting to return from different locations throughout the world.

Rossella Tercatin and Lahav Harkov contributed to this report.