A flight of the Israeli El Al was detained because of four ultra-Orthodox Jews who flatly refused to sit next to women, the Times of Israel reported with a reference to the passengers of the aircraft.
According to the report, the aircraft followed from John F. Kennedy International Airport to Israel. Next to the men were to sit two elderly female passengers from America and one woman from Israel. The four ultra-Orthodox not only refused to to sit next to women and demanded they were moved elsewhere, but also refused to communicate with female stewardesses.
“The crew tries to solve the problem. This doesn’t work. The female flight attendants clear space for the authoritative men on board… the ultra-Orthodox are not ready to speak with, or even look at the female flight attendants,” one passenger of the flight, Khen Rotem, wrote on Facebook Friday.
All crew members and male employees tried to resolve the problem instead of preparing for departure.
Rotem noted that one of the men was “so devout and ascetic” that he kept his eyes shup for the whole duration of the flight to avoid looking at any woman on board.
Eventually, “after a lot of writhing, shouts and maneuvering,” an elderly American women and a young Israeli woman agreed to switch seats, allowing the flight to proceed for take-off.