Netanyahu reverses decision to fly on private plane to the US

PM was originally scheduled to fly to signing of Abraham Accords separately amid fear of catching coronavirus

PRIME MINISTER Benjamin Netanyahu is seen preparing to give a statement at Ben-Gurion airport. (photo credit: EMIL SALMAN/REUTERS)
PRIME MINISTER Benjamin Netanyahu is seen preparing to give a statement at Ben-Gurion airport.
(photo credit: EMIL SALMAN/REUTERS)
Set to fly to the United States with his family for the historic signing of the Israel-UAE deal this week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has changed his decision to travel on a private plane. The initial decision to fly on a private plane was made amid efforts to protect him from contracting the coronavirus, which would have resulted in Netanyahu flying separately from the Israeli delegation.
“In order to prevent the media from diverting attention from the historic agreement with the UAE and possibly with other Arab countries as well, the prime minister will fly with the delegation in a more spacious plane, with strict separation arrangements to maintain his health,” the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement.
Netanyahu had been advised by professionals to fly on a separate plane due to concerns that he will contract the coronavirus on the flight, which will carry more than 70 people, according to a previous statement from the office.
Netanyahu will now fly with the delegation on an El Al plane in another last-minute change of plans, as the delegation had originally been set to fly with Israir. This comes on the background of criticism of the decision to allow Israir to fly, Channel 13 reported.
“We gave up the flight for peace,” said Uri Sirkis, Israir CEO.
“A prime minister who chooses to fly a foreign company’s plane during the biggest crisis in El Al’s history is spitting in the face of 6,500 El Al employees sitting at home,” the El Al worker’s committee said earlier this morning.
 Netanyahu, his wife Sara and their two sons Yair and Avner, had initially intended to fly on a private charter flight from Spain hired through Israir. According to Ynet, the Netanyahu family was going to cover the cost themselves, according to the customary tariff set by the Prime Minister’s Office. Opposition leader Yair Lapid tweeted on Friday morning: “Private plane?! Now? No way a private plane?! There’s nothing to eat. There is no limit to the detachment and obtuseness of this man.”
The Likud Party released a statement that read: “The Left and the media are looking for any excuse to minimize the prime minister’s historic achievement and even put his health at risk, because they cannot stand that he ‘brought peace for peace’ rather than ‘peace for land.’ The Left and the media will continue dealing with nonsense while the prime minister will continue securing tremendous achievements for Israel and making history.”