TEL AVIV (Feb. 19)
El Al Israel National Airlines declared today that despite the attack on one of its planes at Zurich Tuesday, the line will maintain all regular services as scheduled, Mordechai Ben-Ari, the El Al director-general, expressed gratification that all the passengers on the attacked plane had decided to continue their journey to Israel by El Al and not to transfer to another line. A direct New York-Lydda flight was diverted to Zurich this morning to pick up the passengers and crew of the disabled airliner. It brought them into Lydda today. A 12-man El Al technical crew left for Zurich today to examine the damaged airliner and to make the necessary repairs.
In an interview here today with the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Moshe Kol, Israeli Minister of Tourism and Development, said that one of the motives of the attack on the El Al airliner was to kill Israeli tourism and create an atmosphere of tension and hysteria, bolstering Russian and French attempts to establish a crisis atmosphere on the eve of possible Four Power talks on a Middle East settlement.
The Israeli official said American Jews had to answer these attacks by increasing travel to Israel this year, thereby proving that intimidation would not work. American Jewish organizations, he said, should not reply to the attacks with indignant statements but by organizing new group flights to Israel, thus showing real solidarity with Israel. The heads of the Christian churches in Jerusalem, Mr. Kol said, had told him they had decided to show their support of Israel by increasing the number of Biblical tours and Christian pilgrimages. American Jews should do no less, he said, and should show an example of Jewish stubborness to convince the Arabs of the futility of further attacks. He asserted that he expected a 15 percent increase in tourism this year, with more than 500,000 tourists visiting the country and tourism netting for Israel more than a record $100 million.