Hot-air balloon (archives)
Photo: Ziv Reinstein
From Mt. Gilboa to Australia in a balloon
Group of 15 hot-air balloon pilots from Israel, abroad launch voyage over dozens of countries in five continents. 'Our message is freedom,' says journey's initiator
A group of 15 hot-air balloon pilots from Israel, the United States and other countries embarked on a round-the-world journey Thursday. The first flight was carried out for an hour and a half over Mount Gilboa.


On Friday, the balloons were seen flying over Park Eshkol in southern Israel.


The trip's initiator is Moran Itzkovich, 34, a veteran hot-air balloon pilot from Kibbutz Ruhama. "The flight was excellent and the weather was perfect," he said Thursday.

מתכוננים למסע (צילום: רותם נבעה) 

Preparing for journey (Photo: Rotem Nava)


"The guys from abroad really enjoyed flying over Israel," says Itzkovich. "Some of them are Jewish, and that made the experience even stronger and more exciting for them."


During the journey, which is expected to last a year and perhaps even more, Itzkovich and his friends plan to fly over dozens of countries in five continents across the world.


"It takes a lot of logistics," the trip's organizer explained. "Because we don't fly with the balloon over the sea, we must send our equipment from continent to continent. That's the practical way of doing it when you live a relatively normal life with a family and kids."


He sees it as a challenge. "At the end of the day, no one has done it. It's unique. Apart from that, the message is basically freedom. The freedom of choice each and every one of us has."


Itzkovich and his friends will leave for their next destination in about a month and a half. "We already have a plan for Australia and America, and we'll see how we take it from there," he said.


According to the plan, the group will then move on to Europe, Eastern Asia and Africa.


"In the meantime we're mostly having fun, and that's the most important thing," he concluded with a smile.



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