Noam on his way to Madrid
Noam on his way to MadridIsrael National News

Thousands of travelers booked on Thursday afternoon flights began to arrive at Ben Gurion International Airport during the early morning hours out of fear of missing their flights due to roadblocks and other disruptions created by anti-government demonstrators protesting judicial reform.

The protest's organizers had announced earlier this week that they intended to block access to the airport due to Prime Minister Netanyahu's planned flight to Rome, going as far as to pay protesters for their participation. Israel National News spoke with travelers at Ben Gurion's departure hall.

Among the travelers was Moshe Priel, a former INN reporter from Be'er Sheva in southern Israel on his way to Morocco. "We left early in the morning at 6:30 to get to the terminal on time, just in case the roads were blocked." He added that he did not encounter any roadblocks or traffic on his way to his flight - it was only later that protesters succeeded in blocking the main road leading to the airport, causing massive disruption.

Another traveler, on her way to Dubai, said: "We didn't sleep all night what with worry about what was going to happen with the demonstrations and how long it would take us to get here." She recounted that she and her family left early but still encountered a protest.

"I don't agree with the protests," she added. "We're proud of our country, and we should support our prime minister. He knows what he's doing."

Noam left his home in northern Israel at 6:00 a.m. to catch his 3:00 p.m. flight to Madrid. He described how he was worried about roadblocks: "We were very concerned. Democracy also includes freedom of movement. They blocked a main intersection near my home. I support the reforms, even though I don't think they're perfect, but things must be fixed."

Another traveler, who flew into Ben Gurion from Eilat to catch a flight to Turkey, obviously did not encounter roadblocks but noted that the protests had reached Israel's southernmost city: "There are demonstrations there too, though obviously not as many in Eilat as in Tel Aviv. I never thought these demonstrations would change anything."

Watch the full interviews (in Hebrew):