According to Giora Romm, the director-general of the Civil Aviation Administration of Israel, the real reason behind the Russian denial of Israeli armed protection was the Russian desire to dominate these routes. It seems the Israelis had learned their lesson from previous rounds of Russian aeropolitical intrigue. In responding immediately to Moscow's move by countering with a reciprocal ban on Russian airlines, the Israelis showed that they understood the game, and would not be pushed around. Aeropolitical relations between the two countries were quickly put back on track. The most remarkable civil aviation operational feats since the Berlin Airlift, Operation Solomon leveraged El Al's mandate as national carrier with its technical prowess, operational agility, and political acumen. Such a challenging political and operational environment fosters an approach of independence, self-reliance, and ingenuity that is manifest in the culture of Israelis and El Al. The obstacles Israel faced in securing free passage over the Straits were numerous and complex.