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March 4, 2014 12:46 am

UAE’s Etihad Airways Removes Israel From Flight Map, Won’t Serve Israelis

avatar by Shiryn Ghermezian

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Etihad airlines. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

An airline owned by the United Arab Emirates has refused to allow Israelis on board and has removed Israel from its in-flight map, the New York Post reported Monday.

On Etihad Airways flights, a map of the official travel route shows Jordan, Iraq, Egypt, Syria, Lebanon and other countries, but leaves out the Jewish state and its major cities. Etihad is the sole airline that provides service between Abu Dhabi and U.S. cities and is a partner of American Airlines.

In 2010 the carrier even began teaching its flight agents how to identify Israeli travelers by their “accents and traits,” the BBC reported.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security spends $425,000 annually on a pre-clearance customs facility for Etihad at Abu Dhabi International Airport, the Post reported. The facility allows Abu Dhabi travelers going to the United States to clear customs more easily and skip long lines.

Upon hearing of the airline’s discrimination, Justin Ross Lee, a Jewish travel expert from Manhattan, told the Post he would never fly on Ethiad.

“As a frequent flier who holds both U.S. and Israeli passports, I would sooner donate my miles to Hezbollah than travel on Etihad Airways,” said Lee, 30. “I’d probably be interrogated less.”

Last May, 11 U.S. senators blasted then Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano for funding the facility. They said Etihad would be the only carrier to benefit from the facility, which opened in January and handles fewer than 1,000 travelers a day.

In response to the report of Ethiad’s discrimination, State Department representative Peter Boogaard said, “DHS doesn’t condone discrimination of any kind, and a pre-clearance agreement in no way suggests support for any specific airline or policy.”

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