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February 5, 2015 5:59 pm

Israeli Businessman Jailed in Turkey Over ‘Stealing’ Bag of Soup Mix on Flight

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A Pegasus Airlines plane. Photo: Wikimedia Commons. An Israeli businessman was arrested and spent three days in a Turkish prison because the Turkish carrier Pegasus Airlines accused him of stealing a bag of dry soup mix on a flight from Tel Aviv to Istanbul.

“Never in my life was I as afraid as when I was in the prison cell,” said 57-year-old Ben Gal, who owns a perfume wholesale distribution business, Yedioth Achronoth reported.

“During the flight, I brought myself breakfast and paid the flight attendant with dollars. After a few minutes, she came back and mumbled the word ‘soup.’ I told her that I didn’t understand what she wanted from me,” Gal said.

Later, the flight attendant returned with another attendant and requested that Gal empty his pockets. Annoyed at the request, Gal reportedly asked the attendants not disturb him for the remainder of the flight. After landing in Turkey, he was arrested and questioned by three detectives, first at the airport and later at a police station. Several hours later, Gal was transferred to a detention facility full of detainees from Arab nations hostile to Israel.

“It was insulting, degrading, and mostly scary,” Gal said. “Ninety percent of the detainees were Muslims, and one of them said he had been deported from the United States for his ties with the Islamic State. I actually did get along with the Iraqis and the Iranians, but the Palestinians frightened me and threatened me. I kept hearing the words ‘Israel’ and ‘Jew’ thrown into the air.”

After three days, Gal was sent back to Israel. After his release from Turkish prison, the airline admitted that the bag of soup was actually discovered under Gal’s seat, and that the real reason for his arrest was his disruptive behavior on the flight.

The airline said in a statement that Gal “behaved in a manner that violated rules of conduct during the flight and the staff is obligated to report such incidents to the authorities. The passenger was warned to stop acting in a way that endangered the safety of the flight and its passengers.”

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  • Julian Clovelley

    It is obvious we do not have the full story here but the real complaint – and it would seem justified – is that the police behaviour was very questionable.

    Safety on flights does place demands on passengers, the threat of terrorism gives aircrew extraordinary powers, for example to locate hidden weapons. I would not have it otherwise. If asked to empty my pockets, I would without hesitation or rancour do so – thanking the security staff for the care they were taking and assuring them I was not offended. I generally make a point of thanking the officers who check my luggage and check me for metal objects before entering the airport departure lounge. I am very grateful they are there. They are my defence against terrorism. Turkish Airlines, El Al, or even Air Lingus – I expect them to be there

    I think the Airline owes this passenger dinner and an apology – I hope he gets it. They should have ensured the police were properly briefed, and checked up on their passenger’s welfare, assuming of course that they didn’t.

    Incidentally I find many of the posts attacking Turkish people collectively to be very racist. I would have thought that every Jewish individual would understand the evils of collective ethnic, religious, and cultural, defamation. Take it easy. With millions of flights things will go wrong sometimes

  • Mayven

    There is so much corruption let alone arrogance within Turkish mindsets. Civility and respect was never their strong suit. A pecking order of arrogance across the entire spectrum.
    Too bad the government is paranoid and ignorant beyond measure.

    • American

      Are you saying that some Israelis do not steal what is not theirs? 😐

  • ruth cullison

    IT just goes to show all muslims are liars, prejudiced and crazy…They terrorize God, the Bible , Christians, Jews and more..

  • Hakon

    Boikott Turkis Airlines!

  • Robert Davis

    Every one knows now which company to avoid and if this pegasus co.lied about a…bag of soup one can imagine how much more it will lie about the safety,checks etc.they run! A company to shun to and from any destination!

  • Aviva

    Pegasus are pigs….I flew with them and they demanded money for luggage after failing to trap safer it because their workers are retarded….then they called me “No wonder everyone hates you people” meaning Jews….Lucky for me…I have US credit cards. I refused to pay for the flight or the baggage and they are lucky I didn’t sue their ass.

    STAY AWAY FROM TURKEY ! 4th world country

  • Thomas Lundh

    Pegasus employees have no clue. When I travelled with them, they tried to give me change three times for the same transaction! Good thing I’m honest or they might have blamed someone else, like that Israeli businessman, for the deficit.

  • Has he got the guts to sue the Airline ?

  • Ararat

    What do you expect from a nation that denies genocide and imprisons people who express their freedom of speech…

    • AmusedAmerica

      interesting how the Armenians pop out of nowhere on anything that’s Turkish. Especially in consideration of your own modern day atrocities (karabagh, childrens rights, the kardashians)..

  • I won’t go Turkish airlines anymore on my way to ISRAEL

    • AmusedAmerica

      It wasn’t Turkish airlines. It was Pegasus. Big difference between the two.

  • American

    Israelis steal Palestinian lives, land and now soup mix. Have you no shame, Israelis? 🙁

    • David

      You can no be more stupid if you tried

    • Zvi

      And dont forget, Jews also Killed Jesus!!, Established the Spanish Inquisition,Were the reasons for WWII, spread the “Black Plague” and destroyed the Twin Towers on 9/11.

    • Robert Davis

      If you are kidding it is not funny at all,you moron!

    • american

      To you, who said israleis still

      Just for the info a few muslims stole 3000 lives
      In the twin towers alone so dont you start aboit staeling
      They are all scum, they needa go blow themselves all up and the world will see the day where we can all live peacefull

  • Nancy

    Seriously? So you only speak to Gal and write down his side of the story, only briefly suggesting at the very end he might have behaved erratically to justify the crew calling on security?

    Your investigative journalism levels are in par with that of a seven year old, and what you produce is a biased piece of hateful propaganda. “Innocent Israeli vs. terrible Muslims out to get them” rhetoric is destructive, do you not see?

    To the rest of the world, he comes across as a xenophobic, (‘Ninety percent of the detainees were Muslims’ so what?), and the fact that this publication can publish these awfully backwards words says something about your publication.

    Long story short, stop spreading hate.

    • Robert Davis

      Long story short,stop ranting your pro arab pr!

  • Ilbert Phillips

    I would never fly on the Turkis Airlines, no matter how inexpensive.

  • Straightshooter

    It is high time for us Jews to link the anti-semitic and anti-Israeli statements and aberrant behaviour of nation states to our personal lives. We are the ones who will pay the price for the mindless stupidity, mendacious cupidity, indifference and savagery permitted and often orchestrated by these regimes. Why would we not draw that conclusion from Erdogan’s hate-filled and bizarre official statements that we Jews are to blame for all of the wrongs of the world? There is a direct causal relationship between his cheerleading and promotion of rhetorical terror directed against us in general and the perpetration of physical acts of terror directed against us as individuals. It is high time for us as individuals to cut relations with Turkey. We need to be concerned about our own safety, and should not contribute economically to a country and society that increasingly victimizes us for who we are. Whether the Israeli government continues to maintain some semblance of normal relations with the Erdogan regime is beyond our level of influence.

    • AmusedAmerican

      Considering your own economy. Exports from Israel to Turkey account for $1.3B USD in 2013 and is growing each year. Cutting ties would be like cutting off your nose to spite your face. What’s your substitute destination for those goods? On the other hand, Turkey has expanded economic relationships globally and highly doubt the removal of Israel’s economic market would have a significant impact.

  • VictorMc

    Serves him right for travelling on a Muslim Turkish airline. I hope the ticket was ‘cheap.’

    • Robert Davis

      You are right,some opportunists would do anything to earn or save a dime! That was stupid and unpatriotic to go on a turkish trash airline when he could go on EL AL much safer. Yes serves him right!

  • lucifer69

    This will teach you a lesson.
    Fly EL AL.

    • Arie90435

      Unfortunately, the Turkish authorities do not allow El Al to fly to Turkey as they refuse to have El Al security personnel in the country. As a result, the only way to get from Israel to Turkey (and vice versa) non-stop is flying on a Turkish airline.

  • ben s
  • Shalom-Hillel

    Fly Pegasus? Are you kidding? I have stopped buying Turkish figs and apricots. Total boycott of Turkey! Erdogan is an Islamist and anti-Semitism is state policy.

    • Robert Davis

      erdogan is a bastard and all tourists should know turkey is no longer a touristic destination!

  • Howard

    Any Israeli who prefers to fly a foreign flag airline over El Al deserves what he/she gets. Why fly Pegasus? Because it is less expensive? More grist for the anti-Semitic, Jew-hating mill.

  • david wine

    The turks were right, the stupid Jew deserved it for going to there

  • “Disruptive behavior” = flying while Jewish

  • steven L

    Antisemitism is expressed in a variety of ways and means.

  • Mh8169

    Yes, I would publicize this story. Hurt this airline where it hurts. People should not use this airline!

  • pxfragonard

    He was breathing in a Jewish fashion, thus disrupting antisemites.

  • David

    Cancel all Turkish Airlines landing rights at Ben Gurion.

    • Sonia Willats


    • AmusedAmerican

      Then how will all the Israeli’s take their holidays in Turkey. It’s the top vacation destination for Israeli’s. That’s why there are 6 daily flights out of Tel Aviv alone to Turkey.

    • American

      Your corrupt economy needs those flights. ha ha ha ha

    • Robert Davis

      They cannot do that for reciprocity sake. But jews should BOYCOTT all trash turkish airlines.

  • Marco Redwolf

    Besides being one sided and incomplete, this story doesn’t add up. I’m no big fan of the present Turkish Government but something smells wrong.

    • Robert Davis

      Nothing smalls wrong in particular erdogan who does worse : he stinks!

  • Wolff Bachner

    Horse manure. It is time for us to bite the bullet and stop doing any business with Turkey before one an Israel is executed by these Turkish Jew haters. This is all part of Erdogan’s plan to attack Israel in every way possible, even by arresting Israelis who put money in the pockets of Turkish businesses. I would eat sand before I would do business with Turkey or set foot in the country.

    • AmusedAmerican

      I am sure they will be heartbroken and will miss you dearly.

  • rachel robinson

    Any Israeli or any Jew for that matter would be crazy to fly on this hateful country’s air line.

  • Vivarto

    Publicize this so that Pegasus suffers.

  • Efram

    I do not know why any Jew goes to the terrorist-run nation of Turkey. It is not the civilized Turkey of years gone by, but a country which fully supports savage terrorists. In such an environment, a Jew cannot be safe.

  • Mickey Oberman

    What can one expect from a flock of Turkeys?

  • Zipory

    I wonder what it’ll take to convince my fellow Israelis that Turkey is an enemy of Israel. I understand thee convenience of doing business with a country that is so close to Israel geographically but the inherent dangers pf commiting to that country is clearly seen in this post.

    Turkey supports Hamas and is one of the countries speaking on their behalf. They gave diplomatic refuge for Hamas leadership and dealing with them is dangerous. Smart Israelis will boycott the country and that includes their all inclusive (cheap) holiday packages.

    • Robert Davis

      Tourism to turkey is the first thing to ban no mater how cheap it is! It is surely the first turkish industry since these people cannot do anything else but servants.

  • David

    He should sue them for everything they’re worth!

    • AmusedAmerican

      Pegasus is a third rate airline. They’re not worth much. And sue them in which courts? Israel? They have no juristiction over local flights in Turkey. In Turkey? you seriously think that will go well?

  • Uriel

    I swear that I will never fly Pegasus as long as I live! Damned antisemies!

  • HaDaR

    People who DON’T WANT TO UNDERSTAND that there are nations – like Turkey – where Jews are HATED, are taught lessons the hard way.

  • Historian

    What do you expect from Turkey? Anything to harass Jews.. The Turkish Gov officials are idiot Islamic fundamentalists and Hamas supporters..