Despite public outcry over the disruption of an El Al flight from New York to Israel last week after male ultra-Orthodox Jewish passengers refused to be seated next to women, El Al says it has no official policy for dealing with the issue and has no intention of putting one in place.
…Despite public outcry over the disruption of an El Al flight from New York to Israel last week after male ultra-Orthodox Jewish passengers refused to be seated next to women, El Al says it has no official policy for dealing with the issue and has no intention of putting one in place.
A spokeswoman for the airline said that its “policy in general is to try to accommodate any customer request,” and that it deals with requests on a case-by-case basis.…
An El Al flight attendant who worked with the company for eight years until last year, and who asked to remain nameless to protect her professional standing, said flight crews receive no special training for dealing with the issue, which comes up on all flights with Haredi passengers. Flight attendants approach customers to ask them to switch seats, she said, adding, “99.9 percent of the time there is a solution.”
With only 45 minutes to get out of the gate, the priority is to ensure that the flight boards without missing its take-off slot, she said. “I know we act without a policy, and it is understood that we are trying to get everyone home.”
Although she didn’t recall any incidents of what she would characterize as harassment, she recalled “uncomfortable” flights that were held up because men refused to be seated, as well as flights on which female passengers felt uncomfortable, insulted or indignant over being asked to move.…
Israel's High Court of Justice has already ruled that public bus drivers and the like can't ask women passengers to sit in gender-segregated women's area of a bus and has ruled that there can be no gender segregated sidewalks and other public accommodations.
El Al is Israel's national airline, and it likely has to follow those rulings, even when outside of Israel.
In other words, El Al is breaking the law. Women are non-haredim are being illegally harassed, and El Al is enabling it because it doesn't want to deal with rowdy haredim or lose haredi business.
Maybe it's time for liberal Jewish groups like NIFTY, Young Judea and USY to tell El Al that their groups will fly KLM or some other airline rather than give any business to an airline that tolerates and enables this conduct.