Flydubai under fire over promoting tourism in Tel Aviv

Flydubai under fire over promoting tourism in Tel Aviv
The Emirati airline is facing boycott calls after promoting tourism in Tel Aviv and considering Palestinian cities as Israeli.
2 min read
26 April, 2024
Flydubai claimed that falafel and hummus are Israeli foods in its travel guide promoting tourism in Tel Aviv [GETTY]

Emirati airline Flydubai has come under fire over its travel guide, which labels Palestinian cities as Israeli and promotes tourism in Israel.

In its travel guide on the airline's website, Flydubai describes Israel as "one of the most dynamic countries in the Middle East," listing cities to visit, main attractions, and foods to try.

It also notes "the world-famous Old City of Jerusalem and the churches of Bethlehem" as a "must see place" in the state, which was seized by Israel in 1967 after the Arab-Israeli war ended.

Jerusalem houses the Al-Aqsa Mosque, which has been subjected to a series of raids and blockades, with Israelis believing the complex to be the most sacred site in their religion and where two ancient temples are located.

Almost the entire international community rejects Israel's annexation and claims of sovereignty over Jerusalem.

The airline says Tel Aviv is known as the "Manhattan of the Middle East" and the "city that never sleeps".

Critics also pointed out that the guide attributes the "authentic, fresh taste of hummus, falafel, shakshuka, Msabbaha, and couscous, along with traditional fresh bread," to Israeli cuisine.

Israel has faced backlash and ridicule over appropriating Palestinian cuisine and rebranding it as their own. The country has long labeled authentic Palestinian foods Israeli, including "Israeli hummus", "Israeli falafel", "Israeli fattoush", "Israeli shawarma", and "Israeli zaatar".

Flydubai launched its commercial service to Tel Aviv in 2020, becoming the first regular commercial service between the cities after UAE and Israel agreed to normalise ties.

The UAE is among the Arab countries that normalised ties with Israel, following Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994. Bahrain and Sudan also followed suit as part of the Abraham Accords.

The agreement was condemned by Palestinians, breaking years of  the Arab League's policy on opposing the Israeli occupation of Palestine.

The consensus is that there should be no relations with Israel until it makes peace with the Palestinians.