Making history: 1st commercial Israel-UAE flight departs for normalization talks

All aboard the ‘Peace Plane’: El Al 971 with high-level Israeli, US delegations leaves Ben-Gurion; will be greeted in Abu Dhabi by UAE FM; talks to focus on economic, civil issues
Raphael Ahren

By Raphael Ahren Today

  • (From left) US National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien, Trump Administration senior adviser Jared Kushner and Israeli National Security Adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat prepare to depart Ben Gurion Airport for Abu Dhabi on the first direct commercial flight, August 31, 2020 (Facebook screenshot)(From left) US National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien, Trump Administration senior adviser Jared Kushner and Israeli National Security Adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat prepare to depart Ben Gurion Airport for Abu Dhabi on the first direct commercial flight, August 31, 2020 (Facebook screenshot)
  • Israeli and US officials board the first commercial flight between Israel and the UAE, August 31, 2020 (Raphael Ahren/Times of Israel)Israeli and US officials board the first commercial flight between Israel and the UAE, August 31, 2020 (Raphael Ahren/Times of Israel)
  • Israeli and US delegations are on board the first commercial flight from Israel to the UAE on August 31, 2020 (Raphael Ahren/Times of Israel)Israeli and US delegations are on board the first commercial flight from Israel to the UAE on August 31, 2020 (Raphael Ahren/Times of Israel)
  • The first commercial flight between Israel and the UAE, August 31, 2020 (Raphael Ahren/Times of Israel)The first commercial flight between Israel and the UAE, August 31, 2020 (Raphael Ahren/Times of Israel)
  • The check-in counter at Ben Gurion Airport, showing the first Tel Aviv-Abu Dhabi route on August 31, 2020 (Raphael Ahren/Times of Israel)The check-in counter at Ben Gurion Airport, showing the first Tel Aviv-Abu Dhabi route on August 31, 2020 (Raphael Ahren/Times of Israel)
  • A peace logo in Arabic, English and Hebrew is painted on El Al flight 971 on August 30, 2020 ahead of its maiden direct flight from Tel Aviv to Abu Dhabi (El Al spokesperson)A peace logo in Arabic, English and Hebrew is painted on El Al flight 971 on August 30, 2020 ahead of its maiden direct flight from Tel Aviv to Abu Dhabi (El Al spokesperson)
  • Ground crew at Ben Gurion Airport prepare for the first commercial flight between Israel and the UAE, August 31, 2020 (Raphael Ahren/Times of Israel)Ground crew at Ben Gurion Airport prepare for the first commercial flight between Israel and the UAE, August 31, 2020 (Raphael Ahren/Times of Israel)

ON BOARD FLIGHT 971, Tel Aviv to Abu Dhabi — At exactly 11:21 a.m. on Monday, an El Al Boeing 737-900 took off from Tel Aviv en route to Abu Dhabi for the first-ever direct commercial flight from Israel to the United Arab Emirates, setting the course for what many in both countries expect to rapidly become a much-traveled route after formal diplomatic relations are established.

The plane is bringing senior officials from Washington and Jerusalem to the Emirati capital to lay the groundwork for the so-called Abraham Accord between Israel and the UAE, which was brokered by the US and announced earlier this month.

In another historic milestone, Flight 971 received approval to cross Saudi Arabia’s airspace, in a first for an Israeli aircraft, the pilot confirmed minutes before takeoff.

“For the very first time, an Israeli-registered aircraft will overfly Saudi Arabia and after a non-stop flight from Israel, land in the UAE,” said Captain Tal Becker. “We are all excited and look forward to more historic flights that will take us to other capital cities in the region, advancing us all to a more prosperous future.”

The joint delegation will take part in “working meetings” of Israeli-UAE teams “on a range of issues ahead of the signing of cooperation agreements in the civil and economic spheres,” the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement.

“We are about to board a historic flight, the first commercial flight in history between Israel to a Gulf Arab country,” said senior White House adviser Jared Kushner before boarding the plane. “While this is a historic flight, we hope that this will start an even more historic journey for the Middle East and beyond.”

Kushner said he prayed at the Western Wall on Sunday that Muslims around the world would be watching the event, “recognizing that we are all children of God and that the future does not have to be predetermined by the past. This is a very hopeful time and I believe that so much peace and prosperity is possible in this region and throughout the world.” US National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien (left) and Trump administration senior adviser Jared Kushner prepare to depart Ben Gurion Airport for Abu Dhabi on the first direct commercial flight, August 31, 2020 (Facebook screenshot)

US National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien, in a statement on the tarmac, praised US President Donald Trump, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and Emirati Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan for their leadership.

“All these leaders showed a tremendous amount of courage in bringing together the parties and taking a risk for peace. These Abraham Accords will be remembered for many, many years to come,” he said.

The flight will cross over Saudi airspace and take about three hours. The first commercial flight between Israel and the UAE, August 31, 2020 (Raphael Ahren/Times of Israel)

At 7:30 a.m., as Israeli officials and the traveling press arrived at the eerily empty Ben Gurion Airport for check-in, Abu Dhabi was not listed on the screens as a destination. But at the El Al counter on Terminal 3, flight LY971 — the number is a nod to the UAE’s area code — was displayed on various monitors, inspiring journalists and officials to snap photos of the historic sight. https://ecdn.firstimpression.io/static/html/obd_banner.html

The flight was commissioned and paid for by Israel but organized by the US in coordination with the Israeli government.

With El Al devastated financially by the pandemic, it is the first flight by the national carrier to depart Tel Aviv since July 1, and the first time the aircraft, which is equipped with a missile defense system, was put in use since March. The flight crew was required to train on a simulator in Amsterdam in a refresher course, having not flown a 737-900 in five months.

Health Ministry Director General Chezy Levy, one of several ministry director generals on board the flight, distributed face masks bearing the Israeli and UAE flags.

Upon landing in Abu Dhabi’s presidential terminal, an official reception will be held at the airport. UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash will greet the arrivals, according to the Kan public broadcaster.

Netanyahu was not onboard the “Peace Plane,” as American officials called the flight.

“This is what ‘peace for peace’ looks like,” tweeted Netanyahu shortly before the plane took off, alongside a photo of the check-in counter.

The Israeli delegation is headed by National Security Meir Ben-Shabbat. Other senior officials from Jerusalem include Prime Minister’s Office Director General Ronen Peretz, Foreign Ministry Director General Alon Ushpiz, Cabinet Secretary Tzachi Braverman, Netanyahu’s diplomatic adviser and the directors general of various ministries.

“I’m moved and proud to head the Israeli delegation in the talks and Abu Dhabi…. Our goal is to achieve a joint working program for the advancement of relations in a wide range of areas: tourism, health, innovation, science, technology, economy and many other fields. This morning, the traditional blessing, ‘Go in peace,’ gets a special meaning for us,” said Ben-Shabbat on Monday morning. US National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien, left, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, center, and White House adviser Jared Kushner make joint statements to the press about the Israeli-United Arab Emirates peace accords, in Jerusalem, August 30, 2020. (Debbie Hill/Pool Photo via AP)

The American delegation is headed by US National Security Adviser O’Brien and  Kushner. It also includes the administration’s envoy to the peace process Avi Berkowitz and US Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook.

“The discussions will be held in working groups composed of Israeli, Emirati and American representatives in the following areas: diplomacy; finances; aviation and entry visas; health; culture and tourism; space, science and investments; innovation and trade,” the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement.

One highlight of the trip will likely be a trilateral meeting between O’Brien, Ben-Shabbat, and their Emirati counterpart Sheikh Tahnoun bin Zayed.

“We’re all thrilled by the pace, the swift pace of normalization between Israel and the UAE,” Netanyahu said Sunday.

“The day will come, and it won’t be far away, when we will ask: How could it have been any other way? Because today’s breakthroughs will become tomorrow’s norms. It will pave the way for other countries to normalize their ties with Israel.”

Israel and the UAE announced on August 13 that they were establishing full diplomatic relations, in a US-brokered deal that required Israel to suspend its plan to annex parts of the West Bank.

The UAE is just the third Arab country to agree to establish official relations with Israel, after Egypt and Jordan. Israeli and American officials have expressed hope that other Gulf Arab countries will soon follow suit, with relations based on mutual commercial and security interests, and their shared enmity toward Iran.

Paving the way for the visit, the president of the UAE on Saturday issued a decree abolishing a 48-year-old law that had boycotted Israel, thereby allowing trade and financial agreements between the two nations.

The Formula For A Successful Blog.

New Lune

the formula for a successful blog - new lune

Blogging Tips, 89 Comments

Published by New Lune

Many blogger’s end goal is to have a successful blog and there is nothing wrong with that! I find the term ‘successful’ a bit misplaced when talking about blogs because the definition of success in terms of blogging is different for each person. What I consider a successful blog might not be your version of success and vice versa.

Particularly in this case, it’s very subjective. To me, having a successful blog means having a platform to share about things that are close to my heart and to help other people. I want to inspire other people to go for their passions & dreams.

For another blogger, it might be about reaching a certain number of followers, page views, likes or comments. For some bloggers, it might be about receiving gifted products or being able to turn their blog into a business. We all have different definitions and they are all valid.

Every blogger searches for that special formula to turn their website into a successful blog that’s why most of the times, some bloggers end up imitating or copying another blogger because they think it will give them the same growth or success. Unfortunately, that’s not how it works.

Sooner rather than later, they will realise that it won’t work in the long run. I really want to emphasise on the fact that every blog works differently. What works for one blog might not work for yours and vice versa so please keep that in mind when implementing something.

However, when it comes to the foundation of a successful blog – it’s pretty much the same for every blog. In today’s post, I wanted to share with you that formula. Please note that I don’t consider my blog to be successful and I still have a long way to go! These are the key elements I consider needed in order to create a successful blog.

‘Blasphemy’ Cases and Their Doctrinal Roots

As a continuation of our earlier discussion, Al Kresta of Ave Maria Radio recently interviewed me again on the topic of “blasphemy,” including its doctrinal roots.   The roughly 14 minute talk can be heard here. Kresta in the Afternoon’s description of the talk follows: Description: Just days before an annual observance meant to celebrate the […]

Source: Audio: ‘Blasphemy’ Cases and Their Doctrinal Roots

How Consistency Is Critical to Work Communication

Grammar Tips

Nellie Luna August 26, 2020 How Consistency Is Critical to Work Communication

Excellent communication isn’t just a top skill needed in multiple roles across an organization. It’s the cornerstone of a good brand. Great work communication uses consistent, clear, and engaging language. If you can communicate your message consistently and directly in your writing, you will get buy-in from colleagues, engagement from customers, and accomplish more in your career.

Roles today are increasingly distributed and cross-functionally collaborative, which can make work communication more complicated. Working with a team in a different time zone, learning internal buzz words, and writing messages for people outside your organization make it challenging to keep everything consistent.

Grammarly Premium includes features that can save you time and effort by keeping your punctuation, dates, and style consistent. But consistency in work communication is so much more—it’s as much an exercise in branding as it is in writing. Here’s how consistency contributes to your (and your organization’s) success. Staying consistent in every presentation, email, and document can be tough. Grammarly Business style guides make it easy. Get Grammarly

Put your brand language on autopilot 

Whether you’re a brand steward for your company or keen on developing a strong personal brand at work, consistency is vital. At the bare minimum, your written communications should include correct spelling, capitalization, and punctuation. Nailing these details says that you are thoughtful about your work—but don’t stop there. There’s an opportunity to ensure that terms and language specific to your brand are consistent throughout your emails, sales materials, and presentations. Your company name, executive team members, product features, or event titles, for instance, are high stakes. Any inconsistencies in key branded terms can look unprofessional and can chip away at hard-earned customer trust. 

Grammarly Business recently introduced style guides, a solution to align teams and keep their branded terms consistent in communication. 

Save time and energy 

Raise your hand if you work in a role that relies heavily on written communication. For those who must write, edit, and audit brand messages, using a full-featured digital writing assistant for work communication is invaluable. Most marketing, recruitment, and sales teams don’t have access to a full-time editor that can review writing before it’s sent or published.

Grammarly Premium and Grammarly Business are more cost-effective than hiring a full-time editor. By leveraging features that promote brand consistency, you can save time, effort, and money. 

Produce work that supports your objectives

Consistency in our work communication can lead to positive results over time, especially for customer-facing roles like sales, customer service, or marketing. If you work in a customer success role, for example, the way you communicate reflects your company, the brand, and business objectives. If you have a team objective to increase customer satisfaction by 10 percent this quarter, then delivering kind, well-written customer resolution tickets can make a big difference in achieving it. You can lean on the Grammarly tone detector and set goals by specifying the formality, tone, and intent of your message. Moreover, when you and your team use consistent language that engages customers and is free of internal jargon, you can create an authentic, brand-forward experience across channels.

New ‘un-civil’ war is putting bull’s-eye on Christians

Japan bombed Pearl Harbor. Americans united. Al-Qaeda terrorists attacked the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.  Americans united. Democrats and Republicans in Congress sang patriotic songs from the capitol steps.  George Floyd dies beneath Derek Chauvin’s knee. Again, Americans unite in universal disgust.

Source: New ‘un-civil’ war is putting bull’s-eye on Christians