Aug. 31 (UPI) — The first-ever direct flight from Israel to the United Arab Emirates — flying over Saudi Arabia — took off Monday carrying Israeli and U.S. political delegations.
The flight took off from the airport in Tel Aviv and landed in Abu Dhabi. The Boeing 737 was equipped with a special missile defense system.
Aboard El Al Flight LY971 were Israeli national security official Meir Ben-Shabbat and U.S. presidential adviser Jared Kushner.
The flight is a result of the historic normalization of relations between Israel and the UAE brokered this month by President Donald Trump’s administration.
“I prayed yesterday at the [Western] Wall that Muslims and Arabs from throughout the world will be watching this flight recognizing that we are all children of God and that the future does not have to predetermined by the past,” Kushner said. “This is a very hopeful time and I believe that so much peace and prosperity is possible in this region and throughout the world.”
The plane flew over Saudi Arabian airspace to get to Abu Dhabi. The return trip, Flight LY972, will return to Israel on Tuesday. The flight numbers of the two trips, 971 and 972, are the international dialing codes of the UAE and Israel, respectively.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hailed the historic flight Monday.
“This is what ‘peace for peace’ looks like,” he tweeted.