The Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism (IMPJ), which represents the Reform stream of Judaism in the country, has asked the Transportation Ministry and El Al Airlines to look into the legality of the airline's intention to launch exclusive flights for the haredi public.
According to the Israel Religious Action Center (IRAC), IMPJ's legal branch, the move represents "an illegitimate policy that violates Israeli law."
In a letter to Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz and El Al CEO Haim Romano, IRAC Attorney Orly Erez-Likhovski wrote that "flights that institute separation between men and women should not be approved offhandedly."
According to Erez-Likhovski, the law in Israel prohibits any form of segregation based on gender, and therefore any agreement that infringes on this principle should be grounded on a solid rationale and adhere to the law.
A copy of the letter was sent to Attorney General Menachem Mazuz.
The Reform movement believes that these special flights are wholly unnecessary. "It's clear that if a haredi passenger asks not to be seated next to a woman, he can ask to switch seats," the letter stated.
"The fact that these arrangements often happen on flights illustrates that there is no need for such a compulsory gender-based segregation."
IRAC also noted that the kosher bus lines that are operated by the public bus companies are currently being reviewed by an inter-ministerial committee appointed by Mofaz, and that the a petition on the issue has also been filed with the High Court, with a ruling still pending.
The movement asked Mofaz and Romano to clarify how the separation on flights would be enforced, how many special flights would be introduced, are the fares expected to be lower and whether flight attendants would have to adhere to specific restricting dress codes.