El Al plane
Photo: Omri

Haredim outraged by El Al 'trick'

Six weeks after signing Shabbat agreement, haredim angered by El Al flight transferred to charter company Sun D'Or, which flew on Shabbat

The haredi community is up in arms that the El Al airline has apparently desecrated Shabbat, only six weeks after an agreement binding the airline not to fly on Shabbat was signed between the two parties. A new crisis between the airline and the haredim appears imminent.


Everything began when an El Al flight from Toronto to Tel Aviv was forced to land in London on Friday, due to technical difficulties. Despite the late hour, the flight continued as planned. 


Because Shabbat was approaching, El Al authorities decided to transfer the flight to their charter company, Sun D'Or Airlines. While the religious passengers were sent to various London hotels, the plane that had "switched companies" for Shabbat landed in Ben Gurion Airport after Friday at sundown.


Members of the 'Committee for the Sanctity of Shabbat' intend to hold an urgent meeting with leading rabbis of the haredi community early in the week, in order to determine how to proceed.


Rabbi Yitzhak Goldknopf, the group's chairman, told Ynet that "the trick used by the company is not acceptable" and said that he believes the responses from the community this time would be more severe and quicker in coming than during the last crisis between the haredim and the airline.


During the last crisis with El Al, which took place at the end of 2006, the Committee for the Sanctity of Shabbat published official announcements in the haredi media saying that it was "inappropriate to fly El Al."


A week later, following many days of intensive negations which led to dead ends, the rabbis intensified their steps and signed a document calling on the complete boycott of the company.


It should be noted that El Al has been administering Sun D'Or, which flies on Shabbat, since the seventies, a fact that is known in the haredi community. Nonetheless, Sun D'Or does not bear El Al's Jewish-affiliated symbol and therefore, in the past, has been treated differently.


Sources from El Al said that the committee had been asked to wait until the return of company CEO Haim Romano before responding to the alleged desecration of Shabbat. El Al had no formal comment regarding the veracity of this statements.


פרסום ראשון: 02.25.07, 05:53
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