Dozens of Jewish Israelis were expected to board charter flights this week en route to a vacation in the resort city of Antalya, Turkey, Yedioth Ahronoth reported.
Wednesday's charter flight was ordered after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu apologized to Turkey over the death of nine of its citizens during the IDF raid on a Gaza-bound ship in May 2010. Both of Thursday's flights were ordered in advance for Arab Christians looking to spend their Easter vacation in Turkey's resorts.
Law students Danny and Hadar from Haifa decided at the last minute to travel to Antalya. "We wanted to go on vacation during Passover, but we did not have a specific destination in mind," Danny told Yedioth Ahronoth. "Hadar's parents suggested we travel to Antalya. They had a great time there.
"There is nothing to fear. Some websites are calling (Israelis) who are travelling to Turkey 'traitors,' but I don't feel like one," he added.
According to figures provided by travel agencies, 50% of the passengers aboard Wednesday morning's flight to Antalya were Arab Israelis who are taking advantage of the Easter vacation to travel to Turkey, while the rest are Israelis who rushed to book their vacations following the reconciliation between Ankara and Jerusalem.
A family of four pays an average of $2,000 for a four-day vacation at a five-star "all inclusive" resort in Antalya.
Ami Cohen, general manager of tour operator "Kavei Hofsha," said that at this point Jewish Israelis are not snatching up plane tickets to Antalya, "but the real test will come after Pesach."
Eyal Kashdan, CEO of the Flying Carpet travel agency, which organized Wednesday's charter flight to Antalya, said, "We put the flight in the system Saturday night, and we received numerous phone calls on Sunday from people asking about prices. They also wanted to know whether it was safe to travel to Antalya and if the resorts really want to host Israelis. Dozens of people booked four and five-day vacations."