ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 145

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Service as usual at Ben Gurion Airport ahead of Netanyahu’s Italy trip, despite protests

Lazar Berman is The Times of Israel's diplomatic reporter

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu leads a cabinet meeting on the state budget, at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem on February 23, 2023. (Alex Kolomoisky/Pool)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu leads a cabinet meeting on the state budget, at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem on February 23, 2023. (Alex Kolomoisky/Pool)

Though protesters pledged to disrupt operations around Ben Gurion Airport – especially with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu slated to take off to Rome at 1 p.m. – things are calm so far inside the terminals.

Trains are arriving on time, and the airport seems no less chaotic than it does on any other day.

National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir arrives at the airport for a briefing at the police’s forward command center there.

Protest heads have specifically called for demonstrators to block roads around Ben Gurion Airport when Netanyahu and his wife are scheduled to depart on their flight to Italy. The premier is set to meet with far-right Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni at the start of his three-day visit to Rome.

The trip previously faced setbacks when national carrier El Al was initially unable to find a crew to man the prime minister’s flight — an issue blamed on crew shortages but that may have also been affected by growing public anger at the government as it pushed forward with efforts to weaken the justice system.

The Israel Airports Authority called on travelers flying out of the country today to arrive early at Ben Gurion Airport, in anticipation of the disruptions.

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