Former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg, who flew to Israel to show solidarity with the Israeli people, is hosted by Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat.
Bloomberg flew to Israel on an El Al flight after the United States Federal Aviation Administration decided to halt American flights to and from Israel’s Ben Gurion International Airport.
“I flew here to show solidarity with the Israeli people, who have come under attack from Hamas, and to show that it’s safe to fly in and out of Israel,” Bloomberg says.
“Halting flights here – when the airport is safe – hurts Israel and rewards Hamas for attacking Israel. Hamas wants to shut down the airport; we can’t let that happen,” he adds.
Bloomberg stresses that Israel has a right to defend itself.
“The attacks by Hamas are the cause of a lot of death and suffering both in Israel and Gaza, and my heart goes out to all the families that are affected,” he says.
Earlier, Barkat and Bloomberg made a condolence call to the family of Sergeant Max Steinberg, a lone soldier from Los Angeles, California who was was during fighting in Gaza this weekend and was buried in Jerusalem today. Steinberg’s parents visited Israel for the first time to bury their son, who moved to Israel alone and served in the Golani Brigade.
“Mike’s arrival in Israel and Jerusalem sends a message to the world that justice and morality are on our side in this battle for the safety and security of Israeli residents,” Barkat says in a statement.
“Mike’s support gives strength to the soldiers in the Israeli Defense Force as they carry out their mission to defend the State of Israel. We hope that our soldiers will complete their mission quickly and return home safely.”