Last Saturday night, after three days of being off-line due to Rosh Hashana and Shabbos, I powered up my iPhone, and the emails started flooding in. Apparently during the holiday a story broke about a pre-Rosh Hashana El Al flight to Israel (LY4) which took off from JFK and was full of Hasidic men who refused to sit in their seats (as the seats were next to women) “causing the plane to be severely delayed.” Ynet published the original article which claimed that there were “hundreds of men” refusing to sit. Many well-read news outlets like the Daily News, the NYPost, Gothamist, and Washington Post picked up the article. One woman was quoted saying the trip was “an 11 hour nightmare.” The Telegraph UK reported that the plane was delayed for “several hours.” (It was the most read article on their site that week.)
I was curious to get to the bottom of the scandal. The entire trip to Israel from JFK is only ten and a half hours, so an eleven hour trip wouldn’t be that delayed. After attempting to reach the reporter of the original article as well as the one person who was quoted in it (only one person with a full name was quoted), I went to social media to find my own sources.
I discovered two surprising things: number one – the original article (according to the source I found) seems to have been greatly exaggerated. Number two – the same flight which took off two days earlier, but was not written about (according to another source I found) was delayed by almost two hours after hundreds of Haredi men refused to sit. I felt better and worse all at the same time!
Read the full article at jewinthecity.com.
The words of this author reflect his/her own opinions and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Orthodox Union.