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Former Enemy State: A plane full of Israelis is forced to make an unscheduled landing in Saudi Arabia

Former Enemy State: A plane full of Israelis is forced to make an unscheduled landing in Saudi Arabia

An Air Seychelles plane bound for Tel Aviv has had to make an unscheduled landing in Saudi Arabia due to a technical problem. There were 128 Israelis on board. Many were surprised by the Saudi reaction.

For decades, the Arab world and Israel have been hostile to each other. Twenty-eight countries, including Iran, Syria and Saudi Arabia, have not recognized Israel to this day. Accordingly, they do not establish any diplomatic relations with the state.

But after the peace agreements with Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, there is now also a rapprochement with the largest country in the region in terms of area. And this is especially important. Because Saudi Arabia is a major country in the Middle East. The country is economically strong thanks to its oil deposits, and is home to the most important Islamic sites of Mecca and Medina. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared that normalization with Saudi Arabia is one of the most important foreign policy goals during his current term in office.

Air Seychelles was forced to make an unscheduled landing in Jeddah

Convergence also affects air traffic. In July 2002, Saudi Arabia completely opened its airspace to Israeli airlines. El Al in particular benefits from this, as flights to Asia will be much shorter thanks to the route through the desert country. In addition, the two countries are said to be currently negotiating direct flights, also to facilitate the Muslim Israeli Arabs’ pilgrimage to Mecca.

The thaw was also felt on August 28 by 128 Israelis who had to make an unscheduled landing in Jeddah on Air Seychelles flight HM22 from Seychelles to Tel Aviv. The reason was a technical problem with the Airbus A320 Neo with registration number S7-VEV. It should be according to the newspaper Times of Israel I dealt with an electrical problem.

Jeddah is the alternative airport

Some passengers were frightened when it was said that the plane would land in Saudi Arabia. “We were a little nervous, we didn’t know what was going on,” Emmanuelle Arbel, one of the passengers, told Israeli radio station 103 FM. “The reception we received from the Saudis was very surprising,” the traveler continued. “They said hello to us and smiled. Actually, we didn’t expect that.”

Jeddah is designated as an alternate landing site for routes to Israel in the event of an unscheduled or forced landing. Air Seychelles said in a statement that the passengers were transferred from Jeddah to Tel Aviv on an alternative flight.