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Israel Ambassador Flies against ‘Not on Shabbat’ Rule

The Israeli envoy to Ethiopia violated standard operating procedures and flew to Israel on Shabbat. The Foreign Ministry is checking why.
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 12/21/2011, 2:39 PM

Airplane landing at Ben Gurion - illustrative
Airplane landing at Ben Gurion - illustrative
Flash 90

The Israeli ambassador to Ethiopia violated standard operating procedures and flew to Israel on the Sabbath last week.

Arutz Sheva discovered the violation of the Sabbath, when traveling is generally prohibited, and asked the Foreign Ministry for an explanation. It said that the ministry “bought a ticket for the ambassador for Saturday night (after the Sabbath ends), and the ambassador apparently advanced the flight for personal reasons."

The ministry added it is examining the matter.

Ambassador Oded ben Chaim arrived on Flight ET 405 from Addis Abba and landed at Ben Gurion International Airport at 2:05 a.m. Friday night, more than nine hours after the beginning of the Sabbath.

Government regulations prohibit employees and their staff from flying before the beginning and after the end of the Sabbath, even if only part of the flight occurs on the Day of Rest.

However, there are exceptions for life-threatening situations and reasons pertaining to national security. The restrictions also apply to employees on vacation.

“Employees who fly from or to Israel on the Shabbat [and holidays] for exceptional reasons must receive written permission,” according to government regulations.