Once again, the actions of chareidi passengers resulted in a tumult and delay of an El Al flight.
Chen Rotem, a passenger on the flight wrote on Facebook “El Al flight 002 from JFK to Ben-Gurion was scheduled to take off at 6:00PM. We were all boarding and taking our seats, waiting and then the tumult began. Four chareidim refused their assigned seat, next to a woman.
Rotem continues, “The chareidim are not willing to talk to or look at the flight attendants, and all the men on the team, apart from the captain, are now busy with this, instead of preparing for the takeoff and serving the passengers.” The chareidim do not blink: “If you do not sit, you can get off the plane right now”.
In the end, after long minutes of negotiations, the team surrendered. And then a long diplomatic process begins to move people from their places, in order to turn a row of chairs for the four chareidim.”
Chen Rotem notes in the post that “all this time, other kippa wearing black yarmulkes, are expressing surprise and revulsion at the behavior of the four chareidim. In the end, after a lot of writhing, shouts and maneuvers, two women, one American about 70 and the other a young Israeli woman, agree, also because of the pressure of time, to move and the crisis is solved. The crew, who had run through the aisles for more than an hour, seemed exhausted before take-off, although it was probably already practiced in such scenes. Just to avoid any doubt: the women were not upgraded to a better place, just moved to other seats in economy class. Not that this is relevant to the matter of principle, of course.”
Regarding the delay in taking off because of the refusal of the four chareidim to sit next to women, Rotem wrote: “The bottom line: While the El Al plane was engaged in practical theology and issues of personal belief versus civil rights and civil order, 12 planes of other airlines bypassed the flight’s flight 002. The flight to Israel took off at an hour and a quarter late.”
Chen Rotem ends the post with a question, “One question for the good people in El Al, is there any official policy on such matters, and if so, what? Or is this a privilege reserved for only one segment of travelers?
The post sparked a lively debate in the social networks, with surfers inciting against chareidim, inciting and curses that are not worthy of being.
El-Al wrote in response to the writer of the post: “Chen Shalom, we apologize if any inconvenience has been caused, and any discrimination against passengers is strictly forbidden. To assist as much as they can, all in order to take off in time and bring the passengers to their destination according to schedule.”
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)