Israel's deputy transport minister, Avi Yehezkel, lashed out at Air France and the US-based Delta airlines for scrapping flights to Israel after the deadly weekend bomb blast in Tel Aviv and threatened to cancel requests by these companies for future supplementary flights.
He called for Israelis "to make a patriotic choice" and to show "companies which boycott us when times are difficult that we have flights in the (Israeli flag's) colors of blue and white which fly all the time."
Yehezkel warned that foreign companies who cancel trips to Israel will not be given the rights for future supplementary flights, as they were last year when Pope John Paul II visited Jerusalem and attracted a huge number of tourists on pilgrimage.
But Yehezkel said he was not appealing for a boycott of particular airlines.
A spokesperson for Air France said two weekend flights from Paris to Tel Aviv were cancelled following Friday's night bomb blast, which killed the bomber and 20 others. ― (AFP, Jerusalem)
© Agence France Presse 2001
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)