El Al Is Moving Women Passengers to Accommodate Men… Again

Jun 26, 2018

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The national flag carrier for Israel, El Al, is in hot water again for moving women passengers on a flight to accommodate ultra-Orthodox Jewish men.

El Al flouted a 2017 court ruling that, on the grounds of discrimination against women, bans the practice of moving female passengers for the Jewish men who refuse to sit next to them because of their beliefs.

A witness, Khen Rotem, posted on Facebook that El Al flight 2 departing New York (JFK) for Tel Aviv (TLV) last week was delayed for more than an hour after four ultra-Orthodox men refused to take their seats because they were next to women. Rotem wrote that the men would only speak to male flight attendants, who reportedly were trying to persuade them to take their seats but in the end, asked two women passengers to move to accommodate the men.

One of the male passengers in question was so strict in his beliefs that he kept his eyes closed during boarding and during the flight so as not to look at a woman, according to Rotem.

Now, one of the largest tech firms in Israel, NICE Systems, is boycotting El Al after the discriminatory move. NICE Systems CEO Barak Eilam wrote on LinkedIn that his 4,900 employees would not fly with the carrier until it fixed its “practice and actions discriminating [against] women.”

“At NICE we don’t do business with companies that discriminate against race, gender or religion,” Eilam’s post continued.

El Al on Monday took a firmer stance on the issue. The airline’s CEO Gonen Usishkin said in a statement that “any traveler who refuses to sit next to another traveler will be immediately removed from the flight.”

The Jerusalem Magistrates Court ruled almost exactly one year ago that El Al had to set up a different procedure in such instances that did not include moving women passengers after a woman in a similar situation on a 2015 flight sued the carrier.

H/T: NBC News

Featured image by JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images.

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