Israeli Bitcoin Conference Postponed Due to Gaza Crisis

Stan Higgins
Jul 22, 2014 at 22:15 UTC
Updated Aug 26, 2014 at 23:20 UTC

The Inside Bitcoins conference in Tel Aviv has been postponed due to logistical problems resulting from the ongoing military action in the Gaza Strip between the Israeli military and Hamas.

The postponement stems from the cancelation of international flights to Israel in response to rocket attacks launched against Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv. Due to the international profile of many of the conference’s speakers and attendees, the conference is being moved forward to an as-yet-undisclosed date.

CoinDesk spoke with Alan Meckler, chairman and CEO of Mediabistro Inc, which operates Inside Bitcoins. He said that the military crisis – and concerns that the conference would not function without its global guest list – prompted the delay.

Additionally, Meckler noted the fact that several conference participants are currently on active duty with the Israeli Defense Force during the operation in the Gaza Strip.

Meckler explained:

“We had planned to go ahead with the show while missing some of our partners due to military service. But once the airlines canceled all flights we were faced with losing speakers and paid attendees and exhibitors. We had over 15 exhibitors and sponsors and would have had over 200 paid attendees but for the conflict in Gaza.”

Flights to Tel Aviv called off

Ben Gurion International Airport was forced to close to incoming flights after a rocket struck nearby. The rocket was fired from the Gaza Strip, where Israeli forces bombed scores of Hamas targets and left hundreds of people dead or wounded.

Several major US carriers issued temporary flight suspensions, and according to press reports at least one American aircraft had to redirect to another nation after approaching the airport.

The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued a 24-hour ban on flights to Tel Aviv, set to expire at 12.15 pm EST on 23rd July.

In a notice to air carriers in the US, the FFA said that the “hazardous” situation in Tel Aviv had prompted the temporary ban. The agency is expected to update airlines in the next 24 hours on what may lie ahead.

However, the FAA made no indication whether or not it would lift or extend the flight ban after the initial period expires.

Setting the date

According to Meckler, a new date for the Tel Aviv conference has yet to be chosen. However, given the volatile situation in Israel and the Gaza Strip – and throughout the entire region – it remains unclear when the bitcoin gathering will take place.

He went on to suggest that the conference situation is unfortunate, given the diverse set of speakers and the exhibitors set to take the stage in Tel Aviv. Meckler predicted that the conference, whenever it does take place, will still be a success.

CoinDesk will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates as the story develops.

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