Photo: Rallye Aero France
Preparing for takeoff
Photo: Rallye Aero France

Air rally headed to Israel

Seventeen private planes to land in Israel next week as part of 'Rally for Peace' in support of Jewish state. Initiator, chairman of Belgian Bonds: ‘They are coming to express support for Israel, pilots will return to Europe, become ambassadors of country’

A "Rally for Peace" will arrive in Israel next week. Seventeen small private planes will participate, crossing the Mediterranean Sea from France, through Italy and Greece, and finally landing near Haifa.


Forty-three members of Rallye Aero Francem – all leaders in their professions – will be taking part in the event. Each participant shares the hobby of aerial rally, and there is not one Jew among them. The club has made similar flights to Spain, Portugal, Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Eastern Europe and the Balkans in the past twenty years.


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The man behind the Israel initiative is a Jewish businessman – Belgian Robbie Spiegel, chairman of the Bonds in Belgium. Spiegel, a reserve officer in the Belgian Air Force, turned to his French partner, a rally member, and persuaded him to participate in the flight to Israel. Spiegel is a close friend of former Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who assisted in bringing the flight to fruition.

(צילום: Rallye Aero France)

(Photo: Rallye Aero France)


The air rally is logistically complex and quite expensive. It is entirely funded by club members, and required special approvals from the Israeli Foreign Ministry and Transport Ministry. Spiegel said that there was great demand to join the flight, with 30 aircraft requesting to participate, but due to the logistical difficulties of landing a large number of aircraft in the same field, the number of participants had to be reduced. In most of the aircraft, three pilots will share the controls.


Landing is expected on June 3, near Haifa, where tour buses will be waiting to take the club members on a tour of Israel. Participants will visit the Knesset, where they will take a guided tour in French. After a few days they will fly from Haifa to Masada via the Arava, along the border with Jordan and then return to Haifa by way of the beach.

(צילום: Rallye Aero France)

(Photo: Rallye Aero France)


"They come to express support for Israel and peace. They are all opinion leaders in France and Belgium and I initiated this to improve Israel's image in Europe. My intention that these pilots will return and become ambassadors of Israel in Europe," Spiegel said.  


Lieberman said Tuesday to Yedioth Ahronoth, "This rally is an additional boost from Western forces who understand that Israel is always at the front line against extremists and terrorism, but this is never the final destination. Their destination is Western society as a whole and we see what is happening today in Europe."



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פרסום ראשון: 05.29.13, 14:57
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