United Airlines passenger aircraft
United Airlines passenger aircraftISTOCK

A United Airlines flight from New York to Israel had to land in Madrid, Spain, early Thursday morning due to an unruly passenger.

Shortly after takeoff, the passenger began to yell, demanded to smoke, and even threatened to crash the plane. The pilot decided to land the aircraft in Madrid, and the passenger was removed.

The other passengers stayed in their seats, and a short time later, the plane took off towards Ben Gurion Airport.

Yosef, one of the passengers, wrote on Twitter: "In the middle of the flight from New York to Israel, a passenger that looked like a haredi went crazy and was acting quite scary, so we had to make an emergency landing in Madrid. The individual sitting next to me was really mad and began cursing the haredim using very pleasant words. And on the face of it, he was right, it didn't look good... and I saw a lot of people who were angry.

But then I told him that I saw a bit of what was happening, and there was a doctor there that explained that he had a severe mental issue and it has nothing to do with religion. It is so difficult to give the benefit of the doubt when you don't know, and it becomes so easy once you do."