Haredim desert El Al flight over concerns of Shabbat desecration

Haredim disembark after learning El Al flight may arrive in Israel after the start of Shabbat. Weather, not El Al, at fault.

Arutz Sheva Staff,

El Al airplane
El Al airplane
Photo: Moshe Shai / Flash90

Dozens of haredim disembarked on Thursday night from El Al's Flight 028 scheduled to depart Newark for Tel Aviv, Kikar Hashabbat reported.

The plane, which left at the last minute, was scheduled to land in Israel a few minutes before the start of Shabbat (the Sabbath) on Friday evening.

"We waited an hour in the plane, and the delay was completely unnecessary," said A, a passenger on the flight, talking to Kikar Hashabbat. "We got off the plane because we feared we would land after Shabbat had already started in Israel, or just before the beginning of Shabbat."

Another passenger complained that the crew only cleaned the snow off the plane's wings after all the passengers were seated.

"We were supposed to take off at 7:45p.m. and to land in Israel at 1:00p.m. Israel time," he said, noting that approximately thirty passengers disembarked. "In reality, the plane took off at 10:00p.m. and will land in Israel very close to the start of Shabbat."

"We stayed in New York without any of our luggage."

Sources told Kikar Hashabbat that the delay was unconnected to El Al.

"Severe weather conditions have caused many flight delays and schedule changes. The company helped all those who asked to disembark and remain in a hotel. They will fly after Shabbat."

El Al's website listed Thursday evening’s direct El Al flight between Boston and Tel Aviv as rescheduled to Jan. 6 due to dangerous weather conditions in the northeastern US.

In October, a delayed El Al flight landed minutes before the start of the Shmini Atzeret holiday. Religious passengers were allowed to disembark first, and spent Shabbat in nearby Kfar Chabad, thanks to a creative El Al arrangement with the town's residents.