Yisrael Kessar, Israel’s transportation minister, and Rafael Harlev, president of El Al Airlines, will be visiting Atlanta Friday, July 1 to determine the local interest in a non-stop flight between Atlanta and Tel Aviv.

The American-Israel Chamber of Commerce encourages its members and others interested in improving U.S.-Israeli business ties to write letters of support for the flight which should be sent to the Chamber’s fax machine at (404) 874-7277.  The letters will be presented to the Israeli officials.

Speaking at a luncheon of the Chamber, Micha Harish, Israel’s minister of trade and industry, announced the arrival of the two officials and encouraged the local business community to impress upon them the amount of support that exists for such a flight.

As an example of the surge in business and investment activity that can be generated by direct flights, Mr. Harish cited the improvement in Chinese-Israeli economic ties after a direct flight linked Beijing and Tel Aviv.

“It used to take three days to fly to Beijing,” he said. “Not many companies went because of the extra time to go there.  But after the direct flight, it takes only 11 hours, as long as it takes to fly to New York, and many companies are now doing business in China.  Even in the United States, it would make a big difference if you have to change planes in New York (to come to Atlanta).”