On August 31st, 2020, El Al flight 971 took off from Tel Aviv bound for Abu Dhabi. This picture of the aircraft used for the flight was widely circulated on social media: Aircraft

What struck me as odd is the choice of name on the aircraft used for this flight:

  1. Kiryat Gat was built on the site of two Palestinian villages, al-Faluja and Iraq al-Amir, whose residents were forcefully removed en masse by Israeli forces in 1948.

  2. It couldn't have been coincidental - this aircraft was meticulously detailed for the event, as evident from pictures of the interior showing special cabin decoration work, as well as "Peace" being written in three languages written right above the name of the aircraft in question. picture 1

  3. In diplomacy in general, there's little room for error, and anything can be misinterpreted as a gesture, so it can't have been (or it's very unlikely) that it is in error either.

  4. Kiryat Gat is now known for Intel's fabrication facilities, known as "fabs", which are both a sizable investment and a hallmark of technological progress.

With this in mind, I can't help but think that this is an intentional jab at the perceived backwardness of their Arab neighbors. What other alternative explanations for the name exist?

EDIT: An earlier version of the title used the word "massacre" - this is untrue, as kindly pointed out below by the commentators there hadn't been a massacre at Iraq al-Manshiyya, which is now part of Kiryat Gat. However, to be fair, they were forcibly evicted. I was mixing this up with another al-Manshiyya, which is now part of Acre, and which was destroyed, according to none other than David Ben-Gurion.

But regardless of the severity of the violence there, the original question still stands.

Acts of violence were committed in that area ... what are the possible explanations behind it being used as the name of a peace mission's aircraft? Hope this clears things up!

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    Is it possible that this plane already existed, with the name on it already? From what I can see, Israeli planes are frequently named after cities. With the number of expulsions, killings, and other dubious acts that occurred during the foundation of the state or shortly thereafter, it would probably be difficult to find a plane named after a city where there hadn't been some harm done to Palestinian Arabs. Perhaps it is not necessarily a jab at anyone.
    – Obie 2.0
    Sep 2, 2020 at 4:00
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    Another thing to consider is that Jewish Israelis probably don't spend a lot of time learning about their alleged war crimes and atrocities at school. It's quite possible that the recognition that the name might be a problem is very limited on the Jewish side, while being quite a lot more widespread from an Arab perspective. Diplomatic faux pas happen, and I really can't think of what the upside from an intentional slight might be here - Israel gains by entering into normal relations with Arab countries and isolating Palestinians, so they'd be on their best behavior wrt protocol. Sep 2, 2020 at 20:28
  • @Obie2.0 Very well, and it's a fair point about the Israeli aircraft being frequently named after citites. However, this is diplomacy, and diplomats are expected to be well-versed in history, especially their own! As for this being the case for all their aircraft, they could've at least ditched the naming for this one aircraft? Sep 19, 2020 at 9:00
  • @Italian Philosophers 4 Monica - Fair enough, since history is written by the victorious. But while they might choose to "forget" these events, they did in fact exist. These are diplomats, and diplomacy is naturally sensitive, and it's doubly sensitive when it comes to a peace agreement described as being "historic" according to Trump. Diplomatic faux pas does happen indeed, but it's followed by an apology, which hasn't come out until now despite people pointing this out. Sep 19, 2020 at 9:00
  • @ItalianPhilosophers4Monica Philosophers 4 Monica - It might be something like "peace but not peace", where they gain whatever they stand to gain from the peace, while at the same time telling Palestinians that "we're not done with you yet" ("that peace? it's just ink and paper, tough luck for you"). And that's in addition to the other benefit of normalizing relations (incl. trade) with Arabs, while at the same time isolating the Palestinians. Sep 19, 2020 at 9:00

1 Answer 1


I have no reason to believe it is anything but a coincidence. No one in Israel remembers what Arab village there was where Kiryat Gat is, or even that there was an Arab village there. That's ancient history nobody cares about in Israel.

Speaking of history, both Iraq-Al-Manshiyya (not Al Amir) and Al Faluja were built on the ruins of the Second Temple era Jewish village of Kfar Shahalaim, if you want to count evictions here.

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    Minor correction: "ancient history that nobody in Israel cares about". OP quite clearly cares, or he wouldn't be asking the question.
    – F1Krazy
    Sep 12, 2020 at 14:09
  • It can't be a coincidence. First, it's diplomacy. When diplomatic faux-pas happens, an apology would be issued. Diplomats are expected to be well-rounded in history, espceially when it, well, involves genocides. This "ancient" history is an ongoing conflict, just in case you haven't noticed. Sep 19, 2020 at 8:42
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    As for Kfar Shahalaim, I haven't been able to find any online references for your claim. Besides, isn't that weighing by two scales, not caring about an event that happened in the last century, but digging about events that supposedly happened at least two thousand years ago? Sep 19, 2020 at 8:44
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    Hi @WaseemAlkurdi. Your comments are highly biased and opinionated, but I'll try to stay practical. 1. Israel is a highly disorganized country. Too many things happen in coincidence. Not enough thought is given to stuff that should be thought about. So an Arab village from 72 years ago is the last thing anyone in Israel would think about. Bare in mind that in the eyes of most Israelis, the Arab claims of genocide and expulsion are false, so no weight is given to them in any policy, not to say a name of a passenger plane. Which brings to your genocide claim. Genocide is what Hitler, Stalin and> Sep 19, 2020 at 10:45
  • Pol Pot did. In 1948 there was a war, in which the Arabs lost. That's how Israelis see it. The events of that war are long gone, even if other sides of the conflict continue. I took the info about the 2nd Temple town from the Hebrew Wikipedia: he.wikipedia.org/wiki/… and he.wikipedia.org/wiki/…. It's not in the English wiki for some reason. I mention this because you mentioned villages that don't exist anymore. Sep 19, 2020 at 10:54

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