A new petition is calling on El Al to fight discrimination against women on it flights by ultra-Orthodox passengers.
The petition came in wake of a widely quoted Ynet report that an El Al flight from New York to Israel during Rosh Hashana turned into an '11-hour-nightmare' after ultra-Orthodox passengers demanded secular travelers trade places with them before takeoff, claiming they cannot sit next to women.
A new petition posted to Change.org asked "why El Al Airlines allow gender discrimination against women… (and) permit female passengers to be bullied, harassed, and intimidated into switching seats which they rightfully paid for and were assigned to by El Al Airlines? One person's religious rights do not trump another person's civil rights."
Responding to the initial report, El Al said it tries to accommodate all of its passengers, but the petition cried foul on the claim, saying the haredim were receiving preferential treatment.
They urged the company to offer such costumers special seating arrangement to prevent them from "bullying" other passengers.
The petitioned continued: "If a passenger was flouting the rules for take-off, thereby causing flight delay, they would immediately be removed from the plane. If a passenger was openly engaging in racial or religious discrimination against another passenger or flight attendant, they would immediately be removed from the plane."
According to the passengers who were on the plane which sparked the petition, claimed that their fellow ultra-Orthodox travelers refused to sit next to women prior to the takeoff, which not only delayed the flight, but caused actual chaos to ensue on the plane.
Passengers claimed that though the El Al flight crew informed them they do not have to agree to a switch, the flight's captain said over the PA system that the flight would not take off as long as people were standing.
In response, at the time El Al promised to look into the issue, saying "El Al does everything it can to give its passengers the best possible service year-round. The company will examine the complaints and if some passengers are found to have acted out of line the company will examine its future steps."