When it comes to accommodating Yidden arriving late on erev Shabbos, the rabbi of Ben-Gurion International Airport, who insists on not being mentioned by name, does what needs to be done without taking credit. US Air flight 796 that departed from Philadelphia airport after complications is set to touch down in Ben-Gurion at 17:00. Shekiyah is 17:27. The pilot managed to pick up some time as the scheduled landing time was listed as 17:10 up to the mid afternoon in Eretz Yisrael.
It appears the original aircraft designated for the flight was set to depart at 09:15 and land in Israel at 14:15 but due to a “bad smell” the passengers were instructed to disembark after an hour delay on board. The passengers were apparently told that they would be landing by 16:00, so most opted to take the flight. After they finally took off they learned the scheduled landing time was 17:10, just 17 minutes before shekiyah. As a result, some will be spending shabbos in nearby Petach Tikvah or Lod, and for others, possibly as many as 30-50 people, shabbos will be in the airport.
The rav, known for his ability to move mountains, made arrangements for mattresses and glatt food to ensure the families, some with small children and infants, can have a shabbos in the airport.
He did add that travelers must think to themselves just how wise it is to cut travel time so close to shabbos, adding in this case he is aware for many it was a matter of getting to Israel in time for yomtov, but nonetheless, it is a shabbos issue.
This is the information YWN-ISRAEL was able to obtain after speaking with the rabbi at the airport and some of the relatives in Eretz Yisrael of the passengers on the flight. More details will undoubtedly unfold after shabbos when the passengers can be interviewed.
What is critical for relatives to understand is that while shabbos may not be ideal, the needs of the frum passengers are being addressed and no one will be left to fend for themselves.
Zaka is involved in transporting supplies to the airport for the stranded passengers.
A number of Bnei Brak take home food stores have also announced they will send whatever is left at closing to the airport to assist the passengers enjoy shabbos as much as possible.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)