Israelis travel home, abroad for Pesach

Tens of thousands of Israelis living abroad arrived at Tel Aviv’s Ben-Gurion Airport this week for Passover, crossing paths in the air with thousands of their compatriots heading from Israel to Turkey for the same holiday period.

Many Israelis spend Passover on the Mediterranean coast in Antalya, Turkey. photo/wikimedia commons

The Israelis heading home this week are part of 125,000 visitors that Israel’s Tourism Ministry estimates are in the country for Passover and Easter.

“We are receiving reports of very high occupancy levels in hotels throughout Israel, between 80 and 90 percent. There are places in the north with 100 percent occupancy, and very high figures in Eilat,” said Amir Halevi, director general in Israel’s Tourism Ministry.

Meanwhile, thousands of Israelis headed to the Turkish resort city of Antalya for Passover, after years of avoiding Turkey’s “all-inclusive” clubs due to the country’s strained diplomatic relations with Israel.

According to Israel Airports Authority figures, some 24,000 Israelis were slated to fly to Antalya this holiday, an increase of more than 150 percent over last year.

Yaniv Bahat, who traveled to Antalya with his wife and children and two other families, said he chose that destination simply because of the price. “In Turkey you get great value for money,” he said. —