April 14, 2024
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Religious Passengers Sue El Al After Being Accused of Rioting on Flight

(Israel Hayom/JNS) Religious passengers who were aboard an El Al flight from New York to Israel last Thursday night are suing the company, seeking NIS 50,000 in damages for each of the 180 passengers as well as reimbursement for the cost of the flight.

Beyond monetary compensation, the passengers want El Al to publicly retract its claims that some of the haredi passengers were violent toward the flight crew.

Flight 002, otherwise known as the “Shabbat flight” from New York to Tel Aviv, departed after a delay of several hours amid an unexpected snow storm. The delay sparked concern among the religious passengers that the flight could arrive in Israel after the start of Shabbat, during which Jewish law prohibits flying, among other things.

After promises were made by the captain that the flight would arrive in Israel in time, the flight was eventually diverted to Athens, Greece, where the 180 passengers were allowed to disembark so as not to desecrate the holy day. The other passengers were offered a connecting flight to Tel Aviv.

After the plane landed in Athens, a media storm erupted. One of the female passengers claimed the religious passengers behaved in a violent manner toward the flight crew. After Shabbat ended, Israel Hayom’s religious affairs reporter Yehuda Shlezinger, who happened to be on the flight himself, gave a different version of events: “There was no violence from the passengers; if there was violence, it was on the part of the flight crew.”

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