Leading haredi rabbi rips up El Al Frequent Flyer card

Rabbi Shalom Ber Sorotzkin and activists gather at Ben-Gurion Airport, tear up El Al's Frequent Flyer cards.

Michal Levy ,

Haredi activists tear up Frequent Flyer card
Haredi activists tear up Frequent Flyer card
Avi Dishi/Flash 90

After threatening to boycott El Al Airlines following the infamous “Shabbat Flight”, the head of the Ateret Shlomo Institute, Rabbi Shalom Ber Sorotzkin, gathered with a handful of other activists at the entrance to Ben-Gurion Airport on Sunday, where they tore up their platinum cards from El Al's Frequent Flyer Club.

Rabbi Sorotzkin said, "The expectation is that the heads of the company will recognize the problematic conduct on that flight and the false campaign of incitement that followed, and will publish an apology for the aggravation caused to the haredi public."

More than 180 directors of institutions have decided for the time being to boycott El Al and return their Frequent Flyer cards, he added.

Rabbi Sorotzkin, who was on the El Al flight that was diverted to Athens two weeks ago, sent a letter to El Al's general manager asking him to publish a public apology for the airline’s claims that haredi passengers had “rioted” on the flight after it became clear the plane would not arrive in Israel before the beginning of the Sabbath.

The passengers denied the claims. Late last week, El Al CEO Gonen Usishkin admitted that no violence had actually occurred on the flight.

"I have come here to announce that after the negotiations, if by Sunday evening an apology is not issued, we will unfortunately have to prefer other airlines," Sorotzkin wrote in his letter.

El Al has refused to respond to the ultimatum and has not yet issued an apology.

Arutz Sheva Group Chairman Yaakov “Ketzaleh” Katz, who was on the “Shabbat Flight”, confirmed that there was no violence on the part of the haredi passengers.