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elbanditoroso's avatar

Jews changing planes in Arab countries? How does this work?

Asked by elbanditoroso (25341points) November 18th, 2013

This weekend, several news stories were published about various Arab oil countries buying dozens of new planes – B-777, B-787, and so forth, so that they can diversify their economies by building major air traffic hubs in their respective countries. Dubai, Qatar, the UAE, and Saudi Arabia were among the ones mentioned.

None of those countries have much love for Jews and (if I remember correctly) Saudi Arabia doesn’t even let them in. Especially if there is an Israeli stamp on a passport.

Now suppose Dubai gets a huge air hub going and a Jewish person is flying from Beijing to Johannesberg for business. The person has to change planes in Dubai.

Can that person even land in Dubai (or Saudi, or whatever soil)? Can that person leave the airport and stay in a hotel? Take a tour? Etc.? What are the effects on a Jewish air traveler changing planes in an Arab country?

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14 Answers

zenvelo's avatar

Pure speculation on my part:

A traveling Israeli would avoid stopping in an Arab country that didn’t allow Israelis. And, if they did, they would only be transiting at the airport, not passing through immigration or border control.

Dubai actually has a mixed message on Israeli stamps: some say it is grounds for denial, others say it does not matter.

Rarebear's avatar

I’m thinking that changing planes isn’t a problem because you haven’t officially entered the country yet as you haven’t gone through immigration.

JLeslie's avatar

I would be shocked that the UAE would deny Jews changing planes. Actually, I am shocked to find out Dubai (which is part of the UAE I believe) possibly forbids Jews from coming in the country? That would never occur to me. Maybe an Israeli passport has a hard time getting a visa, but Jewish people in general? It never occured to me. Having said that, one of the reasons I don’t intend on visiting those countries, or surrounding countries is because I am Jewish for safety reasons more than anything. When I took my husband’s name it went through my mind that if my plane is ever hijacked, I am the first one dead. His last name is a very obviously Jewish middle eastern name, so I do think about these things.

I know so many people who have worked in Saudi, this is actually shocking to me. I don’t think any of the were Jewish as I think about, but it never ocurred to me to even consider it.

As far as hubs, plenty of airlines will fly from Israel to countries where it is a non-issue. They can hub through Europe. Other Jews from other parts of the world can go through Europe and other parts of Asia like Tokyo I would think.

MadMadMax's avatar

My son and his wife traveled to Morocco last year. While he’s secular, he does have a typicaly Jewish last name. They had a wonderful time and the photos clearly show they were treated with respect and people were friendly. His hotels obviously knew his name, and other than that, I guess they just looked like another American couple on vacation.

JLeslie's avatar

Morocco has Jews living there, I grew up knowing Moroccan Jews (well most of them fled is why, but that is besides the point). The Moroccans I know who aren’t Jewish, religion never seems to be an issue. Of course, I meet Moroccans who have come to America, so they are more likely to not be worried about such things. It’s admittedly a rather small group of Jews who still live there though.

MadMadMax's avatar

“The fear of an Algerian-style insurgency first properly entered the public imagination in Morocco a few years ago, when reports from Nador, Rabat, Mohammedia, Tangier and Casablanca confirmed that disparate but organised Islamist factions, under the influence of possibly Algerian or Saudi-financed groups, were taking control of the slums and shanty towns. This information was followed by regular stories that drinkers, prostitutes, drug dealers, policemen and others suspected of un-Islamic behaviour had been thrown into wells, stoned to death or had their throats cut. In the exclusive areas of Rabat and Casablanca, Moroccan women in Western clothes were assaulted at knife-point for not wearing the hijab.”

MadMadMax's avatar

That’s interesting. Dubai is a business first country – I can’t imagine them blocking people who have simply been to Israel which is the Silcon Valley of the middle east. They are the heart of western technology.

gailcalled's avatar

An excerpt from @Rarebear‘s link; re Saudi Arabia

Also exempt from visa requirements are foreigners transiting through airports for
less than eighteen hours, but many other entry requirements, such as the dress code and restrictions on unaccompanied females, still apply. Nationals of Israel and those with evidence of visiting Israel will be denied visas, although merely being Jewish in and of itself is not a disqualifying factor. (There are, however, anecdotal reports of would-be visitors who tick the “Jewish” or “Atheist” boxes on their visa application having trouble.) Saudis prefer not to grant visas to unaccompanied women, but work permits are common in some fields — esp. nurses, teachers, maids — and possible for anyone if your sponsor has enough connections.

snowberry's avatar

Unfortunately maid- or nurse- could suddenly morph into sex or domestic slavery. This is from the autobiography of a Saudi princess: Princess: A True Story of Life Behind the Veil in Saudi Arabia

MadMadMax's avatar

Pakistani girls go there for “Jobs” as house maids and end up slaves.

Smitha's avatar

Israeli citizens are normally denied visas to the UAE however, and entry might be denied to Israelis travelling on another passport, or other nationals who were born in Israel. This has become strict after the accusations about the so-called Mossad thing. The United Arab Emirates does not recognize the state of Israel and Israeli passport holders can be arrested and deported entering without a special visa.

citizenearth's avatar

The simple answer: Israelis, avoid these countries that are hostile towards you.

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