El Al
El AlEl Al spokesperson

El Al Israel Airlines announced on Friday it will be suspending its route to Johannesburg, South Africa, at the end of March, citing a steep drop in demand after South Africa accused Israel of genocide at the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

"Israelis don't want to fly to South Africa," said an El Al spokesperson quoted by Reuters. "They are cancelling flights and planes are pretty empty... We understand it's the situation because it was different before.

"The fact that the Israelis don't want to go to South Africa but do want to go to other places helps us decide that we're pausing that route," she added.

El Al currently flies up to twice weekly nonstop to Johannesburg.

The airline said that once it stops flying to Johannesburg, it would shift the widebody aircraft it uses on the route to expand current destinations to North America and Bangkok and Tokyo in Asia, while examining new routes, according to Reuters.

El Al’s announcement came as the ICJ announced its verdict in South Africa’s case against Israel.

While the court refrained from ordering Israel to stop the fighting in Gaza, it declared that Israel must, under the Genocide Convention, take all measures in its power to prevent the commission of forbidden acts, including causing death, causing injury, imposing dangerous conditions of life, and preventing births. It also specified that Israel is required to prevent its military in particular from any of these acts, and punish any calls for genocide or related forbidden acts.

Ties between South Africa and Israel were strained even before this court case, as the country continues to accuse Israel of a policy of apartheid against Palestinian Arabs.

The South African government announced in November it was recalling its ambassador and entire diplomatic mission from Israel in protest against Israel's attempts to defend itself from the Hamas terrorist organization following the October 7 massacre.

Later, South Africa called in Israeli Ambassador Eliav Belotsercovsky for a formal reprimand, citing “public comments” he had made.

In late November, a majority of South African lawmakers voted in favor of a motion calling for the closure of the Israeli embassy and the cutting of diplomatic ties until Israel agrees to a ceasefire in Gaza.

(Israel National News' North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Israel National News articles, however, is Israeli time.)