First commercial flight from Albania to land at [Ben-Gurion] Airport Thursday

The first commercial flight from Albania to Israel, operated by Israir, will land at Ben-Gurion International Airport on Thursday. The flight from Albania’s capital, Tirana, will carry 175 passengers, mainly business and communications people from the Muslim state. This is the first time Albania has allowed an Israeli airline to operate a commercial flight from its limits.

The FIRST time Albania has ALLOWED an Israeli airline to operate a commercial flight from its limits. Hmm, I wonder why this is the first time. Could it be that, after all, Albania isn’t all that different from those non-secular Muslim states? Sure sounds like it. One also wonders what’s so special about now. Could it be Albania’s striving toward EU membership (the quieter way for Islam to more deeply penetrate Europe, since that other Muslim state Turkey is having such a hard time)? Could the timing also relate to Albania’s need for support for an independent Kosovo?

Amazing. Yad Vashem has had on display for the past couple months a tribute to the handful of Albanians who saved a handful of Jews during the Holocaust — timed very specifically to eleventh-hour Kosovo independence talks and making its way to the UN this week — and all the while Albania was dissing Israel. (It’s all part of the current vogue that commemorates deadly discrimination against the Jews while practicing the current deadly discrimination against the Jews.) Ah, but as soon as Jewish help is needed, the dissing is suspended — and the Israelis bow in gratitude. “Thank you, Massa, for allowing us filthy Jews in.” Has anyone ever noticed how well the verb “use” rhymes with “Jews”? Back to the news item:

Israir’s commercial manager Shai Marina said that Israir had worked in conjunction with the Israeli embassy in Albania and various other sources to obtain the required security permits.

An additional flight is set to leave Albania in March and is expected to carry other tourist groups. Beginning May, Israir hopes to operate a standard direct line between the two states.

Heritage Tours owner Hanoch Segev said that some 5,000 Albanian tourists were expected to visit Israel in 2008. “We are talking about large tourism potential and I am excited that it is being actualized,” he said.

Yeah, that ain’t the only potential.

Albania in the last year has become a strategic tourist destination for Israel, as the two states work to strengthen their ties. The southeastern European state has some 3.5 million residents, 70 percent of them Sunni Muslims and 30 percent Christians.

Kosovo airlines are sure to follow soon, so stay tuned for direct flights by KLAir!