The El Al plane, which traveled from New York to Israel on Friday, was heading to Athens to allow passengers on Saturday to fear that they would not reach their final destination in time to disembark.
El Al Flight 002, which was supposed to leave John F. Kennedy Airport at 6:30 pm. on Thursday, took off more than five hours later.
Bad weather delayed the arrival of the crew for at least a couple of hours, and then prevented the take-off of hundreds of aircraft. The plane required icing more than once as it waited in line to take off.
By 11:30 pm. dozens of passengers on the plane demanded that they be dropped off in New York, fearing that they would still be in the air as soon as Shabbat began. After being told to take seats so that the plane could return to the gate and allow them to disembark, the plane took off instead.
Here the stories diverge.
Some passengers in social media reports accused religious Jewish passengers of going too far, saying that they physically and verbally insulted during the flight, when they realized that they would not land in Israel in time for Shabbat.
Others say that the flight attendants of El Alt did not hide the information, and then served religious passengers during the flight, and did not tell them until several hours later that the plane would land in Athens.
Ben Chafetz, director of customer service for 121eCommerce.com, said he was one of those who asked to leave the plane, even if it meant losing his ticket. Chafetz wrote: “For four hours in flight, the captain announced that the plane would stop in Athens because of the“ Haredim ”. At this moment, all people who want to go on Shabbat can leave the plane first, and then (and now the kicker) all people who want to continue Israel will also have to get off the plane and go to another plane from IsraAir go to Israel.
“What a shame … I want El Al to announce the truth. We stayed in Athens because El Al made a series of bad calls, and as soon as they landed they could not go to Shabbat, so they needed an El Ala plane to continue Israel on Saturday, ”he wrote.
The decision to land in Athens angered both Orthodox and non-Orthodox passengers for various reasons.
“To be very clear, no one was angry at the flight attendants; everyone understood that they did not make decisions. We asked to talk to the pilot or someone who can play for the pilot. Again, there were no attempts to penetrate the cabin, there were no physical kinks. Yes, there were some voices raised, but most of the time (I have a video to prove it), these were secular Israeli passengers who came to shout at passengers who were worried about Shabbat that we were destroying their weekends, ”wrote Councily
Passenger Roni Meytal told a different story in a message on Facebook.
“After 24 hours to get to Israel, I crashed, broken mainly because of the lack of respect for observing people who follow the traditions and Shabbat who raised this question too much,” Meital wrote in her post.
Meital thanked the flight crew for their patience and tolerance, despite the aggressiveness of some passengers. She wrote that "after six hours of flight, I suddenly heard a cry and saw that the flight attendant was crying after being hit, pushed, amid threats that they would open the door to the cockpit." She also wrote: “I discovered [physically] protecting flight attendants who were crying and who just wanted to catch their breath after [violent] behavior to them. "
She encouraged others to share their message.
Yehuda Schlesinger, a reporter for the religious affairs of the Yisrael Hayom newspaper, was in flight and said that the data on the behavior of religious passengers was exaggerated.
“I, like hundreds of other Israelis, was on a flight that flew from New York on Thursday evening. I must admit, when I opened news sites on Saturday night and saw crazy headlines about “bad” haredims that “pushed flight attendants and threatened to enter the cockpit”, I was furious. Thousands of likes, hundreds of stocks, tons of poison on social networks, and the news was completely fake. I double checked the boarding pass in my pocket to make sure that we are talking about the same flight, ”he wrote.
Further, Chafetz described the beauty of the Shabbat, held at the hotel literally across the street from the airport, with food provided by the local Chabad. “Hassidim sat and deceived the Zionists, Modoks sat with black hats … I use only these labels so that you can visualize the seats, but there were no signs on this box; we sat in true ahdu (unity).
El Al made a statement saying: “The extreme weather in New York caused numerous cancellations and delays of hundreds of flights, including El Al flights, which went to Israel on Thursday evening. Despite the cancellation of many flights, we managed to release Flight 002 from New York for our passengers, including an intermediate stop in Athens. On this day, El Al organized flights to Israel for all passengers. Passengers who chose to stay in Athens for the Shabbat were courted by company representatives, and El Al would return them to Israel after the end of the Shabbat.
“We apologize for any discomfort caused to our customers, but as said, we preferred to fly out of New York on the same day.”