KOCHI: Following an SOS from Indians stuck in Israel, after that country suspended international flights from January 25 to slow the spread of Covid-19, the two governments have agreed to arrange a special flight from Tel Aviv to New Delhi on Monday.
Around 250 Indians, including several from Kerala working as care-givers, were left stranded in Israel after the flight ban. “The flight has been approved as a very special case for sector Tel Aviv to Delhi only,” read a message from Air India Israel to passengers.
The travellers were required to register with the Indian embassy there, besides registering their names with the Israel Ministry of Health website within 24 hours from departure. “We have been told that our tickets are confirmed. We are all set to return to India,” said Jaison Varghese, a Keralite who was stuck in Israel for the past two months after he lost his job.
The Israeli government, which initially banned flights by foreign airlines till January 31, later extended the ban to February 21, and then to March 6. The Indians feared that the ban would go on till the Passover, which falls on April 4. “A large number of Malayali men and women lost their jobs in Israel as care-givers, and many of them are stuck there,” said Bessy Siby, a native of Changanassery, who reached Kerala via Frankfurt on Friday. “The Frankfurt route was very expensive and we had to take a transit visa too,” said Bessy, whose job contract in Israel ended on January 15. Jaison said, though the Indian embassy had told them that flight tickets are confirmed, he is keeping his fingers crossed.