Frum Jews From S. Africa Forced To Be Mechallel Shabbos, Board Plane

Travelers walk with their luggage in the Ben Gurion Airport near Tel Aviv, Israel, Sunday, Nov. 28, 2021. Israel on Sunday approved barring entry to foreign nationals and the use of controversial technology for contact tracing as part of its efforts to clamp down on a new coronavirus variant. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

Five frum South African citizens who landed in Israel on Friday were denied entry into the country and forced to board a return flight out of the country on Shabbos, Maariv reported.

The South Africans, two of whom had traveled to Israel to be menachem avel the family of terror victim Eli Kay, h’yd, had left South Africa before the new travel restrictions due to the Omicron variant had been announced and were not even aware of them when they arrived in the country,

When they arrived at Ben-Gurion after a stopover in Dubai, they were taken to a side room by airport officials and told that they were banned from entering the country and they will have to return to Dubai. When they protested that they couldn’t fly on Shabbos, the officials told them that they would arrest them if they didn’t board the plane.

Elana Smith, a friend of Eli’s mother, Devora Kay, told Maariv: “They treated us like criminals. We asked questions and they yelled at us to be quiet and not ask questions. I told them that I can’t be mechallel Shabbos and they told me that they’ll arrest me if I don’t board the plane. I hadn’t eaten in over 24 hours and I was mechallel Shabbos for the first time in my life.”

Dubai also denied the South Africans entry into the country and they were forced to fly back to South Africa on Shabbos.

(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)


  1. > had left South Africa before the new travel restrictions due to the Omicron variant had been announced

    not taking sides, but just parsing this text: but not after they left Dubai?

  2. yes a person should be arrested rather than be mechalel the Shabbos! And better to be physically dragged on, and then dragged off when landed… what’s the shaila? Is there some info we missing here?

  3. I told them that I can’t be mechallel Shabbos and they told me that they’ll arrest me if I don’t board the plane. But these same wicked evil miscreants {Bennett employees} have already made it exceedingly clear, that they are going to welcome all competitors to “Miss Universe Pageant” in Eilat with open arms, and that there is no question of canceling this event despite this Omicron variant.
    ותקיא הארץ את יושביה I hope Israel succumbs & has to vomit out all these פריצות participants

  4. To be fair, boarding a plane is not automatically “chillul Shabbos”.
    If the majority of the plane are non Jews, then the biggest issue is the ticketing, and then under special circumstances it is possible to arrange that it should be done in a way which abides with halacha.

    Luggage can, of course, also be an issue, but likewise for the most part under certain circumstances it is not difficult to be matir most situations (i.e. kli ledavar shemutar veshe’assur…)

  5. And if they would have been arrested, they could have reached out to religois organizations in Israel to help them avoid being מחלל שבת in prison

  6. I guess when Chazal said not to travel on/after Wednesday, they foresaw the situation described in this article. Traveling close to Shabbos comes with risks.

  7. It might be בדיעבד to board maybe. I don’t know. Probably not. But even if it was mutar, I would not do it because they are doing it intentionally to make them mechalel shabbos. It is שעת השמד

  8. Very difficult situation. Should they all have agreed to go to jail? What do those with Das Torah have to say? What would I do in such a zi
    Situation? It is important to know the Halacha.

    Second, I hope that the Malachei Chavala take good care of those bastards that treated these fellow Jews as they did.

    If PM Bennet would do what is right, he would fire those bastards from their jobs for forcing people to be mechalel Shabbos. More shame heaped upon the dysfunctional government.

  9. I fell very sorry for them!! But finally government acted right.

    Its hard but they can’t make exceptions, like pay attention to religious feelings. Its a emergency, they need now take care and protect the life of more than 9 Million Israeli citizens.
    We still don’t know what is this “Omicron” variant? Should again thousands of people die, because of exceptions or a nice gesture? Look to Europe, how much they underestimate the Delta- variant? How many people are dying there every day? You want again underestimate this Virus? Making the same mistake again and again and again?

    Up to my mind, they should halt all international flights just like Morocco…..

  10. Tziyonim Don’t Follow torah GET IT GOT IT FOOD now we need to deal with the aftermath as they are a antiemetic society like any other they fall into the catogory of eisav sonay es yaakov nothing short of that. and if you think im wrong read the history of the founding ofthe state on the blood of our german brothers we will get our land. said the oridianal founders then they shoot a good doctor r dahan in cold blood his sin , his orthodoxy. WAKE UP THESE Tyinoinim have a worse attitude towards judaisim than AOC and Talib they are mayzidim. ES TZEMACH DOVID AVDICHA… VKARNO Torum!!!!!

  11. No offense intended, but don’t put yourself in a situation where you’re flying on erev Shabbos, and you won’t run into this kind of problem.

  12. Really outrageous. They could have been offered to be sequestered in a room at the airport until Shabbos would end, and then be “forced” to leave the country, to a destination of their choosing. Maybe, with some good will, a solution could have been found (quarantine, isolation, testing, etc.) which would have enabled them to stay in Israel. I hope they will insist on an apology, or file a lawsuit, to make sure this never happens again. It is strange that the Hebrew-language chareidi websites are apparently paying no attention to this “sha’aruriah”, scandal. It is not relevant whether boarding an airplane is technically chilul Shabbos or not. (The chances are 100 to 1 that the passengers had to do something which was at least a “shvoos”, an issur d’rabonon, during their trip.)

  13. “Tziyonim Don’t Follow torah.. GET IT GOT IT FOOD..”

    Yid5782: Are you suggesting they weren’t fed or that they weren’t able to get kosher food on the return flight to South Africa

  14. @Rafi cohen

    they ARE making exceptions EVEN from all African countries (including Miss South Africa Lalela Mswane yesterday, look it up) for Miss universe pageant.
    Maybe they should have said they’re from that delagation.

    This is the most evil formed full of BS coalition government I’ve seen in all my life.

  15. boarding a flight certainly involves chillul Shabbos, going over techum deorayso for just one small example as soon as they have to disembark the plane. as well as the impossibility of avoiding hotzoah since they need their passport.

    this is disgusting

  16. Nobody seem to have an answer to my question, the article says that they left SA before the announcement, and implies that they left Dubai AFTER the announcement. This would make sense as this is a short flight. If this assumption is true, then it would be entirely passengers’ fault and maybe why they were treated harshly. Again, this is an assumption based on carefully worded article

  17. Ash, there is no chilul shabbos in boarding the plane. There is no issur techumin while flying; when they land they have to stay in the airport until after Shabbos. They can walk throughout the airport, but can’t leave. And they are permitted to carry inside the airport, so there’s no issur hotzo’ah with the passport.

    I would still have tried to refuse, though, and dared them to arrest me for it.

  18. For something like this it’s יהרג ואל יעבור. Because it’s שעת השמד. If only we would have the courage to trust in Hashem and overthrow the oppressors

  19. So there have been enough comments regarding rather being arrested than getting on a plane on Shabbos (I agree). Next question—— why did they take an international flight landing on FRIDAY, a few HOURS before candle-lighting. Whenever these situations arise, I always wonder how much kavod one has for shabbos, if they are landing a few hours before shabbos. It shocks me!

  20. Millhouse, I stand corrected. Unless of course in South Africa they have outdoors disembarking with mobile stairs instead of Jet Bridges, in which case I’m right.