Ultra-orthodox passengers assault staff on El Al flight over Shabbat

Two flights were scheduled to depart from JFK airport on time, however, due to stormy weather both flights had been delayed.

By
November 17, 2018 19:17
3 minute read.
Ultra-orthodox passengers assault staff on El Al flight over Shabbat

The first of Israel's El Al Airlines order of 16 Boeing 787 Dreamliner jets, lands at Ben Gurion International Airport, near Tel Aviv, Israel August 23, 2017. (photo credit: REUTERS/AMIR COHEN)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later

Violent uproars broke out on two El Al airline flights scheduled to depart from New York to Israel when some of the ultra-Orthodox passengers claimed the airlines were attempting to desecrate Shabbat on Friday.

Two flights were scheduled to depart from JFK airport on time, however, due to stormy weather both were delayed. El Al decided, despite the delay and upcoming Shabbat, to “advance the planes towards Israel” instead of canceling the flights, according to the airline.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


The two flights were diverted to Rome and Athens, respectively, to deliver the ultra-Orthodox travelers to a layover point before Shabbat began. However, the ultra-Orthodox on board the planes were worried about meeting the deadline and started to assault flight staff and threatening to rush the cockpit.

“Extreme weather in New York is causing cancellations and delays in hundreds of flights, including El Al flights that left Israel last night,” El Al said in a statement. “Due to the delays, and considering El Al does not fly on Shabbat, the company was forced to land Flight LY002 in Athens and Flight LY008 in Rome.”

El Al agreed to take care of alternative flights to Israel for everyone on board if they so chose, as well as to take care of accommodations for those left in Rome and Athens as well.

“El Al will take care of alternative flights to Israel for all passengers,” the airline said. “In addition, passengers who prefer to stay in Athens or Rome on Shabbat will be treated by representatives of the company and should not worry about returning them to Israel at the end of Shabbat. We apologize for the inconvenience caused to our customers.”

However, the flights were appearing to cut their landings too close to the Shabbat deadline for religious travelers who started to get uneasy and eventually turned their dismay into a violent uproar.

“After over 24 hours to reach Israel... I am broken... broken mostly from lack of respect of people who believe they are guardians of tradition and took the matter one step too far,” Roni Meital, a passenger on the flight, wrote on Facebook. “After 6 hours of flight, I hear screaming and see a stewardess crying after [the religious travelers] put hands on her, pushed her and threatened to break into the cockpit. All this to not violate Shabbat. The terrible saga ended in a landing in Athens for the sake of the Shabbat guardians.”





According to Meital, before the flight even took off, a group of 70 ultra-Orthodox passengers began the uproar.

Another passenger, Shimon Sheves, wrote on his Facebook page that, “In deep sleep, I hear shouts... Liars, cheats and hands waving and bashing flight attendants who then burst into tears. If I had not seen it, I would not believe it. [The flight] was decided to land in Athens and to release the Shabbat-keepers to Kiddush.”





The plane that landed in Rome was carrying a cancer patient, and the plane was diverted there for a life-threatening situation. After speaking to the El Al rabbi, the flight continued toward Israel, with anyone wishing to stay behind on accommodations provided by the company were able to do so. All other passengers would leave from Rome and the entire flight from Athens to Israel after end of Shabbat.

El Al decided to file a complaint with the police against passengers who disrupted the flight last night.

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks at a cabinet meeting, December 9th, 2018
December 11, 2018
PM to advance bill to stop terror-backing deputy mayors

By GIL HOFFMAN