Passengers on a flight from New York to Tel Aviv were put through what one passenger described as “an 11-hour long nightmare” on El Al after ultra-orthodox passengers refused to sit near women and demanded segregation of the sexes in line with their religion. The men in black hats and curly tendrils refused to take their previously selected seats for take off. They then jumped out of their seats and stood in the aisle protesting that women were near them . . . for 11 hours.
The El Al flight on Rosh Hashanah was described as an “11-hour nightmare” as the men continued to try to convince a planeload of people to relocate into segregated zones, even offering money to some to self-segregate. One woman was asked to move from the seat next to her husband.
The men continued to complain loudly and pray in the aisle for the flight, making it impossible for some passengers to use the rest rooms, according to media reports. At least the men did not add the Kapparot to the prayers.
The response (or lack thereof) by El-Al stands in sharp contrast to past cases of disruptions. Indeed, we have often been critical of how passengers are routinely tossed off flights for the slightest acts from telling jokes to wearing objectionable tee-shirts to notebook doodles to challenging a pilot’s sobriety to disagreeing with flight attendants to negative tweets. Muslims have long objected that they have been removed from flights for speaking Arabic, dressing in Muslim garb, or for unknown reasons. However, another airline actually threw off a Jewish boy who was praying on a flight. Yet, this incident did not result in any action taken by El-Al to the chagrin of the other passengers.
What is particularly bizarre is that these men selected their seats and knew that this was not a segregated flight. There is such a thing as chartered flights. Otherwise, you cannot force the rest of the world to comply with your extreme religious views.
Source: Washington Post