After the confrontation with the political correspondents who were upset about the travel arrangements for Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's upcoming visit to the United States, the Prime Minister's Office updated this evening (Tuesday) that the correspondents will be allowed to return to Israel on the Prime Minister's entourage plane from New York next Saturday. In a letter sent to the correspondents, the arrival arrangements at the airport and organization were outlined, allowing the correspondents to return to Israel without violating the Sabbath and landing in Israel before the start of Yom Kippur.
As a reminder, at the beginning of the week, a document was circulated to the political correspondents who are expected to join the trip, clarifying to them that due to the proximity to Yom Kippur and the complex logistical arrangements, they would not be allowed to return to Israel on the Prime Minister's plane. This raised concerns that they would have to spend Yom Kippur in the United States. In response, the correspondents made it clear that if their return on the Prime Minister's plane was not allowed, they would have to be absent from the flight.
In the letter sent to the Prime Minister's spokesperson, Topaz Luk, on behalf of all the political correspondents, it was written: "According to the information sheet that was circulated to the media outlets last night, it was written in an unusual and precedential manner that the correspondents accompanying the Prime Minister on the trip will not be allowed to return to Israel on the Prime Minister's plane, due to the proximity to the Sabbath and the urgency to arrive in Israel before Yom Kippur begins.
"On behalf of all the correspondents who are supposed to fly together with the Prime Minister, I would like to inform you that as long as we cannot return with you on the Prime Minister's plane, we will not be able to register for the flight and will be absent from it. It is not reasonable to expect us, the journalists accompanying the trip, to desecrate the Sabbath in order to arrive in Israel before Yom Kippur, or alternatively, to spend Yom Kippur in New York. What is prohibited for the journalists according to the protocol should apply to the entire delegation."
"Essentially," it continues, "you are excluding from the delegation anyone who wants to spend Yom Kippur in Israel (as the Prime Minister, his entourage, and the professionals accompanying him wish) and is not willing to desecrate the Sabbath and fly during it. We expect a security solution to be found soon that will allow our return together with the Prime Minister – taking into consideration, of course, the religious journalists accompanying the trip.
"Government officials' trips have been conducted in a way that avoids Sabbath desecration for years – we insist that a solution will be found this time as well. What is prohibited for the journalists is also prohibited for the Prime Minister and his entourage," they concluded. The letter was signed by journalist Itamar Eichner on behalf of the accompanying journalists: Moriah Asraf Wolberg, Michael Shemesh, Suliman Maswadeh, Yenir Kozin, Lahav Harkov, Anna Barsky, Ariel Kahana, Hodia Karish, Tal Schneider, and Leizer Berman.