Saturday, November 24, 2018

Rabbi Shalom Ber Sorotzkin "Either El Al apologizes or face boycott"

A well-known charedi rabbi is threatening to boycott El Al if the carrier does not apologize for causing religious Jews to violate Shabbat last week.

In a letter to El AL, Rabbi Shalom Ber Sorotzkin wrote that "if by Sunday evening an apology is not issued, unfortunately, we will have to start preferring other airlines".

Many in the charedi community have been calling to boycott El Al following a flap last Shabbat between the carrier and its observant passengers.

Last Thursday, hundreds of passengers waited at New York City’s JFK airport for El Al Flight LY002, a direct service flight from New York to Israel’s Ben Gurion International Airport.
The flight had been scheduled to depart at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, but was delayed after several crew members were late in arriving at the airport – reportedly due to snow storms.
The plane was ultimately boarded, according to a witness, at 8:30 p.m. Thursday, and by 9:10 the plane’s doors were closed.

As the hours passed, however, passengers became anxious, asking staff members when the flight would depart, and if it would arrive before the start of the Jewish Sabbath in Israel.
El Al claimed that a number of charedi passengers became violent at this point and attempting to force their way off the plane.

When the plane finally departed, more than five hours after the scheduled departure time, the pilot assured passengers the flight would arrive in Israel before the Sabbath.

During the flight, however, the captain informed passengers that the plane would be stopping in Athens to drop off any passengers who wished to ensure that they did not violate the Sabbath, while secular passengers would continue on to Israel, arriving after the beginning of the Jewish holy day.

Initial reports after the plane landed claimed that religious passengers had “rioted” on the flight after it became clear the plane would not arrive in Israel before the beginning of the Sabbath. News of the alleged violence by religious passengers went viral on social media outlets.

But passengers denied the claims, saying that at no time did any of the roughly 180 religious passengers on board the flight ever use violence or attack the flight crew, and pushed back against allegations charedi passengers had attempted to break into the cockpit.

Rabbi Sorotzkin, who was on the flight, has been negotiating with El Al CEO Gonen Ussishkin over an apology to the passengers. 

Last week, Ussishkin admitted that no violence had actually occurred. According to Israel Hayom, Usishkin told the rabbi, "I never said that the charedim on the flight attacked anyone. There was no physical violence."

In 2006, charedi Jews boycotted El Al after it allowed several flights to take off on Shabbat to clear a backlog in Miami. After the airline refused to promise that it wouldn't happen again, charedi leader Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv called on Jews to cancel their flights with El Al even if the move meant suffering an economic loss. Hundreds canceled their flights and a month-long boycott commenced, costing El Al an estimated NIS 1 million a day.

El Al eventually apologized and obligated itself not to fly on Shabbat or Jewish holidays, and haredi leaders removed the boycott.


concerned said...

The boycott over shmiras Shabbos of the secular company was hard to understand... Should we be boycotting all non frum establishments??...

But this incident is different. El Al lied to the customers, then lied to cover it up. Some kind of action here is warranted, IMHO.

jayss said...

there was no violation of Shabbos as reported .Shabbos was in Athens. to make a public company live up to a standard that many of our frum jews don't have is unfair.lets not talk about the sad level of true shmiras hatorah among frum jews the chillul hashem of the jewish batei denim,the chillul hashem of the business practices in our frum world.let those who care .put theur efforts into making us frum yidden honest and fair business. why are we not makpid about us. many people have been hurt big time because of the practice so ignored by our leaders, you may have been mistreated or at most inconvienced hoevever it is not by far the damage done to those by the disgraceful behavior among us. put your energy where it is needed where many will benefit from a change ,what to you plan to accomplish wiyh all this as for the money collector does he chack to see if the money he raises is kosher .lets make a change we all look forward to see all the news outlets reporting on the great change.our new slogan we are all honest and only deal with honest

Anonymous said...

Someone not frum who worked in El Al's head office tells me there is irrational Charedi bashing & poisonous hatred as if it's a job requirement there. It's described as so over the top that run of the mill Chilonim who are not consumed by hatred find the culture there hard to stomach.