Tel Aviv (Tribune News Service) - The Israel Airports Authority (IAA) has banned an ad telling women that they cannot be forced to move airplane seats because a haredi (ultra-orthodox Jewish) man won't sit next to them. The billboard, which said, "Ladies please take your seat and keep it," was prepared by the Reform movement's Israel Religious Action Center (IRAC) for the Passover holiday when Ben Gurion airport is at its busiest. The ad explained that "Requiring a passenger to switch seats because of their gender is illegal. A flight attendant may not force you to switch seats to avoid mixed seating."
However, four days before the holiday the IAA told IRAC that the ad would not be displayed because it was part of a divisive political debate.IRAC executive director Anat Hoffman told The Guardian that asking female passengers to switch seats is discriminatory, dehumanizing, and illegal.Last year IRAC represented 83-year-old lawyer Renee Rabinowitz who was forced to move seats on an El Al Israel Airlines Ltd. flight between New York and Tel Aviv. The Tel Aviv District Court ruled that asking a passenger to move to avoid mixed seating was illegal and awarded Rabinowitz NIS 6,500 damages. Hoffman told The Guardian “Since the ruling, we believe it’s still happening. Women are still not sure whether it’s kosher or not kosher. The dynamic is that a haredi [ultra-Orthodox] man refuses to take his seat, then other passengers, instead of telling him to sit down, focus on the woman, saying, ‘Why don’t you just move, so the plane can take off?’”c (2018) Globes. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency.
IRAC Director Rabbi Noa Sattath: “It makes much more sense to do this in Israel, which is where the main problem is, and we reached an agreement with the Israeli Airports Authority, but suddenly they notify us that they’re not approving it.” https://t.co/pLpDB0363t pic.twitter.com/yfXR6DlK3J— IRAC (@Israel_RAC) April 3, 2018