The European Union has given its approval to Israel's "Open Skies" agreement, in a majority vote last night.
A temporary agreement was signed in 2013 which led to a significant drop in air travel prices to Europe, as well as a significant increase in the number of tourists arriving in Israel. Final approval of the agreement means that the airline industry will be permanently open to full competition between airlines, which lowers fares and will benefit Israel's economy due to the influx of tourists.
Israeli Ambassador to the EU, Roni Lashano-Ya'ar, along with other ambassadors to EU countries, made extensive efforts to ensure the EU granted its approval.
Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi stated that: "The EU's approval of this agreement signifies the strong relationship between Israel and Europe."
Responding to the announcement, Barak Ravid of Channel 13 News tweeted:
"There had been strong suspicion that the European Union would withhold its approval of the agreement, as a form of sanctions on the country due to its plans for annexation. The Foreign Ministry feared that the EU would postpone voting on the issue in order to exert pressure on Israel and deter it from its annexation plans."