A recent survey of in-flight preferences found that more Israelis would choose the Israeli president over the world’s hottest woman as their travel companion, with Shimon Peres ranking first among a list of potential local celebrity flight-mates.
The survey, conducted among a representative sample of 504 adults for travel company Daka 90, saw the president beat out a long list of actors, athletes and reality-TV stars, garnering 14.3 percent of all votes. Supermodel Bar Refaeli, in comparison, earned only 11.9%.
With all due respect to the president, however, nearly a quarter of those surveyed said that, given the option, they would prefer that the seat next to them remain vacant.
Leading the list of least favorable travel companions are mothers with infants. More than one-third of respondents (33.8%) said such a passenger would be their least preferred companion on a long flight, followed by Arabs (21%), Haredim (12.4%) and retirees (8%).
Asked which Israeli politician they would least like to sit next to on a long flight, respondents (13%) first specified Benjamin Netanyahu, who narrowly beat out Labor Party head Shelly Yachimovich (12%) and former prime minister Ehud Olmert (10.6%). Rounding out the top five were Hatnua party head Tzipi Livni and outgoing Defense Minister Ehud Barak.
The nature of geopolitics being what it is, Israelis are prohibited from visiting many countries, even some of their closest neighbors. Respondents were asked which banned country they would travel to if allowed, and North Korea (9.4%) came top, followed by Saudi Arabia (9.2%), Pakistan (9%), Yemen (8.1%), Libya (8%), Syria (8%), and Iran (7.6%). Almost half the respondents (43.7%) said they wouldn’t want to visit any enemy states.