Abie Nathan's Peace Flight
Bridging International Divisions at High Altitudes
During the 1965 Knesset elections Abie Nathan, a World War II veteran and former Israeli Air Force pilot, vowed that if elected he would set out to improve relations with Egypt, Israel's enemy at the time. Despite falling a few thousand votes short of securing a parliamentary seat, Abie decided that he owed it to his voters to follow up on his promise and made preparations to fly to Egypt on the 28th of February the following year with the intent of speaking to the Egyptian president. In a white plane dubbed 'Shalom 1' (Peace 1) and with the word 'peace' inscribed on it in English, Hebrew and Arabic, Abie made his way to Egypt. Lacking a radio and thus permission to land, the courageous Israeli was forced to land at Port Sa'id as he was running out of fuel and was immediately apprehended by the Egyptian authorities upon arrival. After his release and subsequent return to Israel, Abie Nathan was welcomed home by thousands of supporters and as the news of his daring flight rapidly spread, the story make international headlines. Abie had shown the world the enduring power of the peaceful gesture and the actions of this one man overcame years of mutual distrust, animosity and cultural rejection. Upon his return to Israel, Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion praised his action as an event of political and moral importance that deserves respect. This is an excellent example of one human being that tried to settle the conflict between two hostile countries in a symbolic way.