El Al air crew are new Israel ambassadors

By Zoe Winograd and Heidi Heinemann, July 12, 2012
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An El Al Ambassadors’ Programme has been launched in the UK.

The programme allows El Al flight personnel to volunteer as advocates for Israel during their stopover time between flights. Currently more than 100 El Al employees are involved in similar schemes elsewhere.

Speaking at the launch at the residence of the Israeli ambassador to Britain, Daniel Taub, the director of the programme, Alon Futterman, said: “This is not an opportunity to talk about our problems. This is a people to people initiative. The idea is to talk about Israel and show the sides that we feel people don’t know enough or hear enough about.”

The UK launch featured four El Al flight attendants. Yehuda Hainovitz from Jerusalem spoke about El Al’s kindness when his American boyfriend lost his passport at Ben Gurion Airport. This had made him realise that he wanted to volunteer for the programme.

Nathalie Fessel, who was born in Switzerland and moved to Israel as a child, spoke of finding her Israeli identity in primary school and youth movements.

Inbar Ashour, from Hadera, talked of her love of travel and her greater love for Israel. “Every time the captain says, prepare yourself for landing, I look out of the window and there is nothing more beautiful than what I see. It’s my home.”

And London-born Daniel Young made aliyah in 2006 and became an IDF paratrooper. After the army Mr Young went to work for El Al as a flight attendant. He said: “I don’t think any other flight attendant in the world would feel about their country as we do about Israel.”

Since its inauguration seven months ago, 35 events have been held under the programme’s auspices in north America.

The UK venture runs in partnership with the Jewish Agency, StandWithUs, Israel’s Foreign Ministry and the Zionist Federation.

Anyone wanting to host El Al ambassadors can contact the ZF, which will choose appropriate ambassadors for the event.

Last updated: 9:34am, July 12 2012