El Al Won't Fly on Sabbath Without Rabbinical Dispensation
An agreement has been signed between El Al and representatives of the hareidi-religious public regarding Sabbath flights.
By Hillel Fendel
First Publish: 1/5/2007, 10:49 AM / Last Update: 1/5/2007, 12:32 PM
The agreement paves the way for the removal of the hareidi boycott on the Israeli airline.
The "Rabbis Committee for the Sabbath" and El Al resolved that an agreed-upon rabbi would be appointed to decide each case in which a Sabbath flight appears to be required. The company will thus not operate Sabbath flights without the rabbi's approval - which presumably will not be forthcoming unless a "life-saving" need applies.
Other details of the agreement were not released, except that "it was signed with the approval of the generation's leading rabbis," the committee stated.
The boycott began after the nationwide Histadrut Labor Union strike several weeks ago. El Al, seeking to clear the strike-caused backlog and bring stranded passengers home a day earlier, flew several planes on the Sabbath. Many hareidi-religious passengers have said that they see no reason to prefer an Israeli company if it openly desecrates the Sabbath.