Shalom Life | September 26, 2014

Orthodox Jews Cause "Nightmare" After Refusing to Sit Next to Women on El Al Flight

El Al passengers on New York-Israel flight claim Haredi men refused to sit next to women, even offering secular passengers money to switch seats, delaying flight's departure

By: Itay Blumental

Published: September 25th, 2014 in News » World

Photo Caption: Haredi crowd aisle after refusing to sit next to women on flight

Photo Credit: Amit Ben Natan


Passengers aboard an El Al flight from New York's JKF airport to Israel claim that hundreds of ultra-Orthodox passengers demanded that they trade places with them before takeoff, saying they cannot sit next to women.

"It was an 11-hour long nightmare," one of the passengers summed up her experience.

On Wednesday morning, the eve of Rosh Hashanah, thousands of Israeli and Jewish passengers landed in Israel, including scores of ultra-Orthodox Jews who decided to celebrate the Jewish New Year in the Holy Land.

However, things didn't go so smoothly on one El Al flight carrying a large group of haredim, as well as secular Jews, that departed from New York's JFK and landed in Israel at 5 am Wednesday.

According to the passengers who were on the plane, their fellow ultra-Orthodox travelers refused to sit next to women prior to the takeoff, which not only delayed the flight, but caused actual chaos to ensue on the plane.

"People stood in the aisles and refused to go forward," said Amit Ben-Natan, a passenger who was on board the plane.

"Although everyone had tickets with seat numbers that they purchased in advance, they asked us to trade seats with them, and even offered to pay money, since they cannot sit next to a woman. It was obvious that the plane won't take off as long as they keep standing in the aisles."

Passengers claimed that though the El Al flight crew informed them they do not have to agree to a switch, the flight's captain said over the PA system that the flight would not take off as long as people were standing.

"This is completely inconsiderate of the non-haredi travelers. I don't know many airlines that would allow their passengers to act like that," said Bar Natan.

Galit, another traveler on the flight, said the ultra-orthodox passengers suggested she and her spouse split up to better accommodate their desired seating arrangements: "Why should I agree to switch places?" she said with anger.

After she refused, the haredi man seated next to her conceded, but it was only temporary: "I ended up sitting next to a haredi man who jumped out of his seat the moment we had finished taking off and proceeded to stand in the isle."

It seems that after takeoff a large portion of the haredi travelers took to the isles to pray which, according to their fellow travelers, crowded the isles and caused the flight to be unbearable.

"I went to the bathroom and it was a mission impossible, the noise was endless," Galit said.

In response, El Al promised to look into the issue, saying "El Al does everything it can to give its passengers the best possible service year-round. These days bring with them a peak in air traffic to Israel, and our crews on the ground and in the air are doing the best they can to address the needs and requests of all our travelers while trying not to fall behind schedule.

"The company will examine the complaints and if some passengers are found to have acted out of line the company will examine its future steps."

Reprinted with permission from Ynet News

Non-Jews Take "The Jewish Food Test" [VIDEO] Non-Jews Take "The Jewish Food Test" [VIDEO] Trending Israel, the Only Safe Place for Christians in the Middle East Trending Forget Yosef, Israel's Most Popular Baby Name is Actually Mohammed Trending
 

Non-Jews Take "The Jewish Food Test" [VIDEO]

September 26, 2014 | By Caitlin Marceau
Non-Jews Take "The Jewish Food Test" [VIDEO]

In a viral video, BuzzFeed assigns it to people who have never tried gefilte fish or matzo ball soup before

Read More

Bette Midler to Release First Album in 8 Years

September 26, 2014 | By Sara Torvik
Bette Midler to Release First Album in 8 Years

Bathhouse Betty is planning to release 'It's The Girls!' on November 4th

Read More

Joan Rivers' Jokes to Live on at Smithsonian

September 26, 2014 | By Sara Torvik
Joan Rivers' Jokes to Live on at Smithsonian

The comedian's jokes are reportedly being entered into an exhibit at the Smithsonian.

Read More

Drake and LeBron James to Collaborate on Rap Song?

September 26, 2014 | By Sara Torvik
Drake and LeBron James to Collaborate on Rap Song?

The hip hop and basketball stars could be releasing a track some time soon.

Read More

Emmy Rossum to Receive Avalon Award

September 26, 2014 | By Sara Torvik
Emmy Rossum to Receive Avalon Award

The 'Shameless' star is being honored at the Catalina Film Festival

Read More

Maccabi Tel Aviv's Alex Tyus Debates Fasting Before LeBron

September 26, 2014 | By Caitlin Marceau
Maccabi Tel Aviv's Alex Tyus Debates Fasting Before LeBron

The newly-converted powerhouse wants to make sure he's in optimum shape the day after Yom Kippur when he faces ex-coach David Blatt and the Cleveland Cavaliers

Read More

New Study Shows Thyroid Imbalance Causes Congenital Deafness

September 26, 2014 | By Viva Sarah Press
New Study Shows Thyroid Imbalance Causes Congenital Deafness

TAU model provides a platform to test therapeutic approaches in order to prevent hearing loss before it occurs

Read More

This Bicycle Seat Also Turns Into A Lock

September 26, 2014 | By Maya Yarowsky, NoCamels
This Bicycle Seat Also Turns Into A Lock

Meet Israeli-based Seatylock: "convenience in a bicycle saddle"

Read More

More Headlines