Sabbath uproar: El Al hit with 180 demands for compensation

Sabbath uproar: El Al hit with 180 demands for compensation November 22, 2018

Insisting they should not be flying on the Sabbath, a group of ultra-Orthodox Jews bound from New York to Israel reportedly forced an El-Al flight to make an unscheduled stop in Athens last week  – and are now demanding compensation of $13,000 each.

A letter sent by lawyers to the airline alleges that flight attendants had caused a delay of the departure, which the passengers said resulted in them:

Observing the Shabbat in an inconvenient place causing them emotional distress.

The letter added:

In an effort to defend itself, the company went on the offensive and disseminated false information about ‘manifestations of violence’ on the part of the passengers that never actually happened.

El Al’s allegation served to vilify a group that:

Most of the public already enjoys hating.

Photo via Facebook

But the airline and some passengers insisted that several ultra-Orthodox passengers became violent toward the flight attendants. One passenger – Roni Meital, above –  who posted video clips of the incident to Facebook, described:

Hearing screaming and [seeing] a flight attendant crying after she was hit, pushed, amid threats [by ultra-Orthodox passengers] that would break open the door to the cockpit.

I found myself standing and [physically] protecting flight attendants who were crying and who just wanted to catch their breath after the [violent] behavior toward them.

Meital, who said that it took her more than 24 hours to get to Israel, went on to accuse the “Sabbath guards” of lack of respect to the other passengers and crew, and ended by thanking the attendants.

You were adorable in the whole situation. Hugs to the flight attendants who really didn’t deserve what they [the utra-Orthodox passengers] gave them

Two El Al  flights were delayed by several hours due to stormy weather in the Midwest and East Coast last Friday. Hundreds of flights were cancelled or delayed that day.

Meanwhile it’s reported here that El Al will set up a committee to study the events that led to the Athens lay-over.

El Al CEO Gonen Usishkin said the airline also would investigate allegations that some passengers acted violently toward flight attendants.

It’s reported that El Al is estimated to have spent 1 million shekels, or about $270,000, to make the Athens stop. Some 150 passengers who disembarked were put up over the Sabbath in a hotel next to the airport and their meals were arranged by the Chabad in Athens.

The remaining passengers boarded a flight by the carrier Israir to Tel Aviv about three hours later. El Al has a policy of not flying on the Jewish Sabbath and major Jewish holidays.

The  second flight that left New York that night had planned to divert to Rome but continued to Tel Aviv due to the medical condition of a passenger.

El Al apologised for causing any of its passengers “discomfort”.

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  • barriejohn

    Why were they flying anyway? If G_d had intended us to fly he’d have given us wings, surely!

  • Aloha

    Or at least they need to avoid flying on Friday. Keeping the Sabbath is the believers job, not society’s job. Everyone knows that flights can be delayed.

  • Aloha

    As far as “keeping Sabbath in an unfamiliar location.”
    There actually is something to that. They’re not allowed to cook food or buy food, so if they’ve made no preparations, they probably just had to fast the entire time. I learned that on my first trip to Israel — the hard way. You can’t buy anything to eat on Sabbath in many areas.

  • Fred Tully

    more evidence the world is overpopulated.

  • Michael Neville

    El Al’s allegation served to vilify a group that: Most of the public already enjoys hating.

    If certain people didn’t go out of their way to act like assholes then maybe “most of the public” wouldn’t think they were assholes.

  • Michael Neville

    If Gawd had intended us to fly he never would have let us invent the railroad.

  • Lurker111

    There may be an update to this account that casts a different light on the situation, at

    This doesn’t take away from the religious madness about the sabbath ritual, of course, but we need to present the facts as they are, assuming that the facts is as they is; we aren’t Republicans and don’t need to make stuff up. :-/

  • Vanity Unfair

    Who do they think controls the weather, anyway?
    It could be a test. “I’m just going to sneak in a few headwinds to see what you do.”
    Might there be special problems with the International Date Line? (That has nothing to with on-line assignations, by the way.) What would the ultra-faithful do about two consecutive Sabbaths or missing one out completely?

  • Jim Jones

    They should stop carrying these assholes. Let them row wherever they want to go.

  • Jim Jones

    Stock up on ham sandwiches at the local Subway?

  • barriejohn

    And, as we have observed before, what happens as one approaches the Poles? For some strange reason, amongst all the minutiae of Old Testament regulations, such an eventuality seems to have been completely overlooked by their god!*jpC4MDuh0dae0xGW0Zrz5mFL9gexCTOCJSt4tRiY9CoxFE4Sb7UUf/AbrahamicReligionsareignorantoftheworld.png

  • Lark62

    Read article. The airline spent thousands feeding and housing them.

  • Lilly Munster

    Are we surprised? Judaism is a primitive, hate filled tribal religion of virulent racism, persecution and license for bigotry and thievery. When you declare that YOUR are the Chosen People, that the violence and genocide ORDAINED in your religion is acceptable, you are exactly like The Klan, and the Nazis. Same hatreds, Same violence. Same persecutions.

  • barriejohn

    And more – when facing criticism they just play the “ant-Semitism” card, which makes them a protected species!