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7:31 a.m. ET, October 9, 2023

A British-Israeli businessman says he has helped almost 200 Israelis fly home

A British-Israeli tech entrepreneur has helped hundreds of Israelis stranded in the United Kingdom to fly back home. 

Shneor Crombie, who has lived in London for 12 years, has been working closely with both El Al, Israel’s national carrier, and its embassy in the UK, to help citizens return to the country. 

“Two days ago we started realizing that people need help to go back to Israel, either as reservists or as critical workers in the emergency services,” he said. “There are many Israelis stranded here who came here on holiday — commanders in the army, doctors, surgeons, people who work in council security and others who are critical in every aspect of Israeli life.”

Crombie put a call out on social media asking for anyone who had tickets to Israel and was willing to donate them to those in need. El Al has made flight changes free of charge, while other members of the public have donated funds to help buy extra airfares. 

“We are just ordinary civilians trying to do our best to help in this difficult moment,” he told CNN. “Dozens and dozens of people gave their tickets or donated tickets and the efforts keep going. It’s a very difficult time and from what I’m seeing everyone is helping us as much as possible.”

So far, Crombie says he has helped nearly 200 people get on flights, and there are many more people still awaiting flights.

One of the donors who came forward flew 18 Israelis back home on Sunday in a private jet, Crombie said. “It was a small plane and that’s the maximum capacity.” 

“There are many more initiatives like our one in London. There are flights from Lima in Peru, New York, Los Angeles, Bangkok. We have been in contact with the people organizing those and are all trying to help each other,” he added.

Israel’s foreign ministry has now stepped in to play a bigger role in a more coordinated effort to bring its citizens home, Crombie said.

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