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

Chairman of the Board of the El Al airline Eli Defes met Monday with Shas MK Michael Malchieli following the aftermath of the infamous “Shabbat flight” incident from New York to Israel.

The incident received attention amid claims in media that haredi passengers on the plane had “rioted” upon learning that the flight would not reach Israel before Shabbat. These claims, however, were denied by eyewitnesses, who emphasized that the claims were false and that violent behavior had never been exhibited on the flight, and, further, that passengers had behaved with civility despite being misled by flight crew about the flight’s trajectory and timetable.

El Al CEO Gonen Usishkin later publicly stated that there was no violence on the flight, and the airline announced it would compensate the passengers on the flight in question with free roundtrip tickets to Europe.

At the end of the meeting yesterday, it was decided that a committee would be formed, composed of representatives of El Al and of the haredi sector, which would deliberate upon any case of concern over Shabbat observance and problems of modesty on El Al flights.

MK Malchieli said after the meeting that "El Al has learned the hard way that haredi travelers deserve respect and service without harming their way of life. The haredim are not second-class citizens. El Al did well to reject the announcements made at first accusing the haredi sector of things that were not true. "