A Southern Californa group that flies Jewish youths to Israel to discover their heritage fears they won't get the chance after the U.S. banned flights to the war ravaged country.
Federal aviation officials issued an order to airlines prohibiting them from flying to and from Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion International Airport for 24 hours after a rocket struck near the airport earlier Tuesday, NBC News reported. Additional tensions were fueled this week after a Malaysian Air Lines jet with 298 aboard was brought down as it was flying over contested Ukrainian territory.
"Everyone is going through something right now," said Sarah Austin, a member of the Jewish Foundation of Greater Los Angeles. "There's not a lot I can really do to help."
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The organization currently has two groups in Israel and has another trip planned for August.
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Israel's El Al has not cancelled its flights to Tel Aviv and is still flying people into the city and some believe that America should do the same.
"I thought America is our best friend in the world and they should keep flying to Israel to show the world that Israel is tough and that they are standing with us," Israeli citizen Ayala Ziv said.
But the U.S. State Department is asking travelers to put off travel to Israel, Gaza and the West Bank as long as the conflict between the country and Hamas continues.
The Jewish Foundation had 12 cancellations out of 40 for a group that arrived before the ban in Tel Aviv on Sunday. The group has future flights scheduled and has no plans of canceling them.
"Things are changing by the minute, so right now there is no plan on canceling," Jewish Foundation member Tal Gozani said.
In the meantime, Birthright Israel, which runs the youth trips along with the Jewish Foundation is rerouting itineraries to the northern part of Israel and avoiding certain roads.