Announcing newly-launched direct flights between Abu Dhabi and Tel Aviv, the UAE-based Etihad Airways came under fire for a promotion video posted on the airline carrier's social media pages, inviting viewers to learn more about Tel Aviv sites and other "perks of visiting Israel."
شركة طيران الاتحاد الاماراتية تنشر فيديو يروج لزيارة " إسرائيل " ويظهر صورة للهيكل المزعوم، إضافة لمأكولات فلسطينية.— Hussein Jamal Hussein (@HusseinJHAS) November 16, 2020
- الامارات أصبحت إسرائيلية أكثر من الاسرائيليين. pic.twitter.com/2yDrCiXh9p
Translation: "The Emirati Etihad Airways has posted a video encouraging tourism in Israel, showing a photo of the alleged temple in addition to Palestinian dishes. The UAE has become more Israeli than Israelis."
The video which was removed a few hours later after igniting many angry comments on Twitter and Facebook features an English-speaking woman in Etihad Airways' crew uniform, telling viewers about the different experiences that await them when visiting Israel.
According to the video, visitors to Israel will be able to see several historical sites, mostly referring to Jewish ones such as the Second Temple. Additionally, the video shows a number of Palestinian dishes including Shawerma, Maftoul, and Shakshuka, which angered Arab viewers even more.
وساخة لا حدود لها ...— مش هيك (@meshhek) November 16, 2020
طيران الإتحاد الإماراتية بتنشر فيديو دعاية لزيادة ما يسمى "إسرائيل" وبتروج للأماكن السياحية وضايفين صورة الهيكل المزعوم في الترويج.
غير طبعا سرقة الأرض، الشركة بتروج للأكلات الفلسطينية على انها إسرائيلية.#الامارات #التطبيع_خيانة pic.twitter.com/35NpXDC14p
Translation: "Utterly shameful. the UAE's Etihad Airways is promoting visiting Israel and its touristic sites in addition to a photo of the alleged temple. Apart from stealing the land, the company is promoting Palestinian dishes as Israeli."
Protesting the video that comes only two months after the official signing of the Abraham Accords between the UAE and Israel, inaugurating full diplomatic and commercial ties between the two countries, many online commentators questioned the reason an Emirati national airline would "promote tourism in another country, instead of focusing on inviting Israeli tourists to visit the UAE."
Abu Dhabi's Etihad Airways— Haaretz.com (@haaretzcom) November 16, 2020
posts, removes video ad featuring Second Templehttps://t.co/N9aTzkMiEu
Other commentators attacked the religious references in the video, saying that an Emirati air carrier "shouldn't support the Israeli claim" regarding the Second Temple that was destroyed during the Roman Siege of Jerusalem in 70 CE.
Over the last several months, Israel, the UAE and Bahrain have signed what the US President Donald Trump termed as the Abraham Accords, through which all three countries established official ties for the first time.
Additionally, several air flights have been announced between the three countries ever since, including the Etihad Airways route expected to start next March.
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