Israel's largest airline company is currently in negotiations with representatives of the ultra-Orthodox sector on operating special flights for the haredi public with full separation between men and women, male flight attendants and no movies during flights.
Several months ago, the "Rabbinic Committee for the Sanctity of the Shabbat" and the "Council for the Purity of the Camp" approached El Al and asked that the company operate special flights during the sector's busy seasons, starting this Passover.
The rabbis told the airline that during Pesach tens of thousands of yeshiva students studying in Israel return to the United States to visit their families, while many haredi families arrive from abroad to spend the holiday in Israel. They demanded that the company introduce "kosher flights" that would be suited for the needs of the ultra-Orthodox public.
El Al initially declined the request, explaining that the move was not financially viable, but later decided to allow the separate flights. El Al CEO Haim Romano said in response: "We're not talking about regular flights; any group of people can rent a plane and adjust the conditions to the passengers' requirements."
Head of the "Rabbinic Committee for the Sanctity of the Shabbat" Rabbi Yitzhak Goldknopf told Ynet: "We reached an 'in-principle agreement with El Al CEO Haim Romano regarding the special conditions, and we consider it to be highly serious and credible.
"An agreement between two sides always overpowers technical and bureaucratic obstacles. I think this move would prove worthy for the company, and not only on the financial level."
Goldknopf added: "We congratulate El Al's heads for their willingness to accommodate the needs of the haredi public and for supporting this initiative.
In a conversation with Ynet, Romano stressed that "there would be no discrimination and haredi passengers would not pay less." He said that the company already operates special flights for various groups, and is considering doing so ahead of Passover.