This is a rush transcript from "Your World," July 23, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: All right, back to FAA's travel ban to Israel, at least on the part of American carriers.
Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg not part of that. He says he thinks traveling to Israel is perfectly fine, hopped on an El-Al flight yesterday to do just that. He joins us from Israel right now.
Mayor, very good to have you. Do you think, is this an overreaction on the part of the FAA?
MICHAEL BLOOMBERG, FORMER MAYOR OF NEW YORK: Well, I think compared to the security at American airports, security at Ben Gurion Airport is infinitely better.
Compared to the security getting on and off American Airlines, El-Al security is infinitely better. You have got to remember that Israel has been under threat since 1948, when it was founded. And so there's always been threats. And they take security much more seriously here and on El-Al than -- around the world -- than we do in America.
The FAA's got a job to do, and I think the FAA by and large does a very good job. I have been a big -- I'm a pilot registered by the FAA. That's where my license comes from. And I think they do a good job.
But in this case, I think that if it hadn't been for the Malaysian airline disaster, they probably never would have done this, but this is not the same thing. A rocket here, not a controlled rocket, but a ballistic rocket, fell a mile away from the airport.
And if you had -- if you closed down JFK every time something dangerous happened within a mile or so of Kennedy Airport, we wouldn't have a city. We couldn't get people in and out of New York. The real world is that things happen.
And in this case, I felt as safe as I could possibly feel coming in on El-Al and coming into this airport. And if we let terrorists frighten ourselves into closing travel to different cities around the world, the economies of the world will collapse and terrorists will have won.
CAVUTO: Would you and were you planning to go to Israel anyway, Mayor, or did -- after this ban, you said, well, that's ridiculous, I'm going to go to Israel and make my point?
BLOOMBERG: I had no plans to come. I have got to get back tonight. Right after this, I'm flying back to New York. But late yesterday afternoon or middle of the afternoon, I had heard about the ban, and I said, I want to show that I think it's safe, and so called El-Al, got a ticket, went to the airport after dinner, flew here, had a great flight, and here I am.
CAVUTO: You know, Mayor, you mentioned that none of this probably would even be happening right now if not for the Malaysian Air crash last week.
But that did change things, and it did give people pause that in war zones or danger zones, maybe we should be extra cautious. What do you say?
BLOOMBERG: Well, we should. And, unfortunately, that's every place in the world in this day and age.
You know, you can bring a small boat into New York Harbor, and if you have a powerful missile, you can do an awful lot of damage very quickly. We live in a world that is dangerous. And we have to make sure that we support our security forces, that we invest the kind of money. We want to able to make sure that we protect people's rights, but the days of just laissez-faire saying, oh, well, don't have to worry about it, I live in a safe part of the world, are long over.
And if we didn't learn that message from 9/11, I don't know how we're ever going to learn the message. You couldn't have been more safe in New York City right up until the morning of September 11, 2001.
CAVUTO: That's a very good point.
Mayor, I have talked to a number of Israelis on the phone who have been saying that they wonder if this was political payback and that maybe we were punishing Israel, knowing that this wouldn't hurt Hamas, it would hurt Israel in terms of business, tourism and the rest. What do you make of it?
BLOOMBERG: Well, look it, you can always accuse anybody of politics. I always try to think of our government, particularly American government - - I'm so proud of America. I have always been.
We don't do everything perfectly. And there are some bad people and people sometimes do stupid things or bad things. But the bottom line is, American policy isn't set just by politics. Every once in a while, it impacts you in a minor way, but I think the FAA is not a politically conscious organization.
It is true, however, that the FAA ban gives Hamas a win. And Hamas even put out a statement to that. They're thrilled that they were able to cow somebody into stopping commerce and hurting Israel. And we cannot let them do that. We just can't do that. And, hopefully, the FAA, after looking at all the precautions that Ben Gurion Airport takes, will remove their ban and that airlines will start flying here again.
Certainly, El-Al and British Airways both said, we're going to fly. It's a safe place.
And I happened to fly in on a 777 today, and I was honored to be in the cockpit with the pilots. I'm a pilot. And I can just tell you the precautions they take here are better than precautions we certainly take in the United States.
CAVUTO: What we're talking about, fear, terror and the rest, Mayor, I would be remiss if I didn't mention what you know is going back home in the city that you ran for a better part of 12 years, these guys who ascended to the top of the Brooklyn Bridge and put up these bleached American flags.
A lot of security experts say it could have been a lot worse. They could have put a bomb up there, they could have put anything up there. What did you make of that?
BLOOMBERG: Well, I don't know. I just saw the headline in the paper. Clearly, there should be protections against people climbing up on bridges. It's dangerous for the people that climb, and also they can do some real damage if they were terrorists. And I think the P.D. just has to check what their procedures are.
Keep in mind, the NYPD is a group of the most talented, trained, well- managed police departments in the whole world. And they can't be everyplace, and there's always going to be something that will give you a story. But, generally, I feel as safe in New York City as I possibly would feel anyplace else in the world. And part of it's because of the NYPD that just has done, for the last 12 years, when I was very close to it, and from what I can read after that, done a great job.
CAVUTO: Now, I don't know how you're flying back home, or whether you're going to stop in Rome early. You know that your successor, Bill de Blasio, is there. What do you think of the job he's doing?
BLOOMBERG: Well, Bill's a new mayor.
And I have said that I will not comment on him or his policies or anything. But just let me say, I and my family live in New York City. I and my family plan to continue to live in New York City. My business is in New York City.
I think it's the most wonderful city in the world, no offense to Jerusalem, where I am now or any other city, many of which are great cities.
BLOOMBERG: But I'm a New Yorker.
CAVUTO: But you don't think he's chasing them away, Mayor? I talk to some business types in New York who fear that his sort of anti-business tone and get-the-rich tone is hurting and will hurt the city.
BLOOMBERG: Well, look, you have got talk to them. I'm going to stay away from local politics.
My predecessor gave me the great gift of never criticizing. And I will give my successor exactly the same gift.