El Al Diverted After Unruly Ultra-Orthodox Passengers Demand To Land Before The Start Of The Shabbat

We have previously discussed flights delayed by Jewish ultra-Orthodox who refused to sit next to women (here and here). The latest incident occurred on two Israel-bound El Al planes that took off from New York on Thursday.  Ultra-Orthodox men caused a small riot and even assaulted a flight attendant because the delayed flights would cause them to land after the start of the Jewish Shabbat when they are not supposed to be using cars or aircraft.  They caused one of the aircraft to be diverted to Athens. The other was going to divert to Rome but a medical condition of a passenger required the flight to continue.

The flights were delayed by weather and the passengers grew angrier and louder about arriving after the start of Shabbat on Friday night.  They demanded that the flights be diverted.  On the first plane, they got their wish.

According to Shimon Sheves, a director general of the Prime Minister’s Office under former premier Yitzhak Rabin, the unruly passengers assaulted flight attendants: “Within a deep sleep, I hear shouts of ‘liars, fraudsters’ and hands waving and beating flight attendants who broke down in tears. If I didn’t see it, I would not have believed it.” While some have declared the accounts as “all lies,” various eyewitness accounts have detailed the chaos on the flight.

After landing in Rome, the ultra-Orthodox passengers left to observe Shabbat while all of the other passengers were delayed for hours for a new flight.  There is no report of any arrests.  So a group forces a plane to land but are not arrested?

Passengers reported flight attendants being assaulted and threatened. Yet, the airline simply said that they would follow up on any complaints.  


33 thoughts on “El Al Diverted After Unruly Ultra-Orthodox Passengers Demand To Land Before The Start Of The Shabbat”

  1. These are people who are irrational to begin with. They have a recorded history of almost 7,000 years clearly showing that God does not favor them in the least, yet they display a sense of superiority and entitlement that is totally at odds with their largely miserable experience in this world.

    1. The last time I recall being conscious of you you were commending to us all one Christine Blasey. Your mind is a collecting pool of vicious stupidity.

        1. True, Tabby is one of the bitter, disfavored tribes. That accounts for his rage against complete strangers. Pitiful.

  2. Of course anyone who disrupts a flight and/or assaults other passengers or the flight crew should be arrested and charged with the same crime anyone else would. No one gets a pass. This should not be a question. They should also profile passengers. If a flight is delayed so that it will land after Shabbat, which could leave their ultra Orthadox passengers stranded at the airport, they should make that announcement before take off. That will allow them to make the decision to deplane voluntarily. Such an announcement would be polite, just as one informing Muslim passengers that they will not be allowed out of their seats to pray when the seatbelt sign is on.

    When they start arresting everyone, equally, then passengers will get the message to behave. If the passengers were indeed misled as to the impact of the delays on their arrival time, they still had no right to assault anyone, risk everyone’s lives by causing a riot on board a ship full of fuel, cause the environmental impact if the plane had to dump fuel to divert, or force everyone else to divert. They would have every right to be angry at those who made the decision, but they cannot punish innocent bystanders, and you don’t hit someone just because you are mad. It’s not like God won’t forgive them if they were forced to fly against their will on Shabbat. Now hundreds of people are stuck in another country because of a small group of passengers getting their own will. Plus, it is math. If you are delayed from takeoff by 2 hours, you will be delayed on landing by 2 hours. It’s not a Lear Jet that can make up that kind of time.

  3. Everything is in God’s plan and that includes the weather. Perhaps God is angry at them for testing His will. They simply need to update their Shabbat restrictions to just not travel on Fridays…period; or at least not by some conveyance that removes the choice to faithfully observe the start of Shabbat.

    1. OLLY – I actually think Yahweh would forgive them if they got caught on the plane. It is like being Catholic and accidently eating meat on Friday. God will forgive you for something that was really beyond you control. He does not expect you to bring down the airplane.

  4. They should have been arrested and jailed. There is no excuse for such behavior….NONE!

      1. Mespo

        Just as ISIS murders and terrorizes in the name of Islam but has nothing to do with Islam’s basic tenets, the extreme politically correct have nothing to do with liberalism or progressivism, and the Nazi/white supremacists have nothing to do with conservatism. Then there’s you, who has nothing to do with common sense.

  5. There happened to be a reporter on the plane, who gave a different version. It does appear that the Professor reported fake news. As the reporter (who is religious) could only give his version after the Shabbat (24 hrs later) it is understandable but a correction is still necessary.
    Here is a link to read:-

    1. It wasn’t that much different just added whining about the weather and the airline. The ruckus was there and the nuts were just as nutty.

    2. Actually, the reporter interviewed someone who was on the flight.

      My initial thought was why did they take a flight that would land too late. From this account it seems that they took a flight that should have landed well within the acceptable time but there were delays in the takeoff and the passengers were told lies about how long the delays would be, repeatedly. I’d be upset, too.

    3. Michael – thank you for the link. It adds new information that alleges that those who asked to deplane were not allowed to do so. There needs to be a full investigation.

      I cannot see a video in the link to Professor Turley’s post. My opinion is that the passengers might have had every reason to be upset but that does not give them the right to get violent with the flight crew or other passengers. Your link alleges that there was no violence, but it also had a quote from another passenger claiming that there was, and cursing.

      Since there are conflicting stories on whether the ultra Orthadox passengers engaged in violence, or if it was even them who diverted the plane, there needs to be an investigation. I just watched a couple of episodes on investigating plane crashes last night. In light of that, my main concern will always be the safety of everyone on board. You can always sue an airline or voice a negative opinion, but you cannot bring anyone back.

  6. Second flight was diverted to New York? That is where it left from. So it returned?

    1. Answered in report linked supra: continued to Israel due to sick passenger and a religious dispensation therefore.

  7. So you base your story on one facebook post? Did you even try to hear the other side? Talk about fake news powered by hatred!

    1. So what is the other side, since you seem to know of it enough to claim this is a fake news story powered by hatred.

      Did you not notice the other references contained within the article?

  8. Today I spoke with God (the correct version, not one of the other thousands we’ve invented) and It said true believers should stand on one leg for four hours each day. Anyone without a leg to stand on, well, punishment awaits.

    Have faith. I’m a prophet. Believe me. And I wrote it down, so it’s true.

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