Scientist Says He Was Treated Very Well
diplomacy works best when actual governments have nothing to do
with it. An Israeli scientist whose plane was forced to make an
unscheduled stop in Iran this weekend initially feared the worst...
but Benny Medvedev says after some tense moments, his hosts were
Medvedev was one of 123 passengers onboard a Turkish Airlines
flight from Istanbul to India, when the plane was forced to make
the first of two emergency landings in Tehran due to mechanical
issues. The scientist says the was "terrified" when the plane
landed in the Iranian capital Friday -- as the Iranian government
denies Israel's right to exist, and the two nemeses maintain no
"For the first hour I was terrified to death," Medvedev told the
Israeli daily Yediot Ahronot. "Like everyone else I serve in a
(Israeli reserve) combat unit ... I didn't want to get off the
airplane but I didn't have a choice."
After being denied his request to remain onboard the plane by
the pilot, Medvedev attempted to blend in with a group of British
tourists... but Iranian security officials knew he was onboard, and
walked directly to him.
It was then that this story took an unexpected and welcome turn,
reports The Associated Press.
"They told me, 'We know you are Israeli but you don't have
anything to be worried about. We will help you with anything you
need,"' said Medvedev, who works as a researcher at Israel's
Institute for Earth Sciences.
Israel's Haraatz newspaper reports Medvedev, along with the
other passengers, were forced to spend the night in the airport's
international lounge. The Israeli scientist says he was allowed to
send an email to his boss, relating the incident to him.
When Medvedev's boss
reported the incident to Israel's Foreign Ministry, officials
initially feared the worst. Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni received
regular updates on Medvedev's situation throughout the day, and the
Israeli consulate in Mumbai was also contacted.
But Medvedev says he was treated just as well as the other
passengers -- slightly better, in fact, even after the Turkish
Airlines plane was forced to once again return to Tehran on
Saturday, due to yet another mechanical problem.
"The security people treated me very well," Medvedev told
Israel's Y-Net. "I even received a gift of a wooden music box. They
invited me to visit again and I invited them to visit Israel, when
there will be peace."
When... not 'if'...