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DRAMA IN THE SKY: 2 ElAl Flights Have Shabbos Issues; 1 LANDS ON Shabbos, Another Lands in Athens

Two El Al flights from New York to Israel had serious “Shabbos issues” on Friday afternoon.

There is much confusion and disinformation going around, and the following are the exact details.

Both flights, 008, and 002, were delayed for hours leaving NY on Thursday due to the snow storm.

Flight 002 was supposed to depart JFK Airport at 6:30PM, and was supposed to arrive at 11:50AM on Friday morning in Israel. The flight eventually departed NY at 11:45PM. The flight is packed with Frum people, and a decision was made to land in Athens before Shabbos. The passengers were being put up by El Al in a hotel.


Flight 008 also departed late, but it was a flight that to begin with that was supposed to land at around 3:40PM on Friday (Shkiya is around 4:40PM in Tel Aviv). It does not appear to be full of Shomer Shabbos passengers. Despite that, the plane was going to land in Rome for Shabbos, but a person became seriously ill on board and a Shaila was presented to Hagaon HaRav Yitzchak Yosef. He ruled that the plane should continue to Israel, and land on Shabbos – due to Pikuach Nefashos. It appears the flight will be landing at around 5:30PM – around an hour after the Shkiya.

El Al said in a statement that “extreme weather in New York is causing cancellations and delays in hundreds of flights, including El Al flights that left Israel last night. Due to the delays and delays, El Al does not fly on Saturday, the company is forced to land Flight 002 in Athens and Flight 008 in Rome.”

“EL AL will take care of alternative flights to Israel for all passengers. In addition, passengers who prefer to stay in Athens or Rome on Shabbat will be treated by representatives of the company and do not worry about returning them to Israel at the end of Shabbat. We apologize for the inconvenience caused to our customers.”

[READ THIS – MAILBAG: An Open Letter To El Al About An Incredible “Shabbos Of Unity” In Athens]

As YWN reported in 2007, the Chareidi community around the world boycotted El Al after the airline was Michallel Shabbos. Gedolim around the world signed a Kol Koreh and thousands cancelled their tickets. The boycott was lifted after they promised never to fly on Shabbos again.

(YWN World Headquarters – NYC / YakerNews)

22 Responses

  1. Anyone with a bit of Yiras Shomayin should have left the plane before departure once it became clear that arriving in good time before Shabbos was no longer guaranteed.

  2. Silly that they were planning on landing the plane full of frum passengers in Athens which does not have any Jewish community, and the plane with non-frum passengers in Rome, which has a relatively large Jewish community with available shuls and kosher food.

  3. Yawn.
    Once you carry on Shabbos in Brooklyn, flying on a plane or landing on Shabbos is no big deal. I’m sure the cutting edge Rabbanim can work out a heter.

  4. Yankelle, there is this little organization, you may have heard of them, called Chabad. They have the situation fully under control and are providing the stranded passengers everything they need 🙂

  5. yankelle, they are thinking of everyone on the flight. for non-sabbath observers there are more flight options from athens to tel aviv. it is also cheaper in athens. they are running a business, not a charity. any observant Jew boarding a flight at 6pm last evening got a deserved lesson.

  6. To whomever took the video. I really admire your enthusiasm and excitement for shabbos, I think that’s a lofty trait. When you keep saying that this will be the most beautiful shabbos ever, I completely disagree with you 100%. A beautiful shabbos would have meant not risking mechalel shabbos. A beautiful shabbos would be having the ability to have wine for kiddush (it’s a D’Oreisa commandment) and lechem mishna for hamotzei. A beautiful shabbos would have been by the kosel or davening in a place with a Sefer Torah and siddurim, chumashim, shabos candles. A beautiful shabbos is one where one can have some extra time to say tehillim, to tidy up the house, to finish preparing the chulent- all in a non-rushed fashion. A beautiful shabbos could have happened if you didn’t take a flight which AT BEST would have landed 2 hours before shkiya.

    I’m not there with you, and you may very well have a Sefer Torah, appropriate place for candle lighting, wine and challah, not wearing weekday clothing- ‘most beautiful shabbos ever’- I sincerely doubt that! The lesson to teach your children is that we will do the best we can to follow this as a halachic shabbos and try to keep in good spirits with what we have, but kids ‘we will not be flying internationally 2 hours before shabbos again BECAUSE we want shabbos to be honored and beautiful’!

  7. Chabad apparently isn’t considered a Jewish community. Yankelle, next time you’re stranded, please don’t come knocking on our door, try see if the local Presbyterian Church will help out with Kosher food and Tfillos.

  8. Lets be dan lkaf zchus…perhaps getting off the plane once was delayed was not a viable option.WE dont run the airport nor does el al..

  9. From Sunday to Thursday any Frum Jew can travel to Israel unless there is an emergency, in which case HaShem would not impose any consequences on you flying into Israel on Shabbat. Otherwise, if there is not an emergency, simply do not fly on the Sabbath. Do you just want attention? Do you just want the world to bow to you? Or do you just want a free vacation in Rome or Greece. Stop acting Stupid….. Book your flight times on any day other then close to the Sabbath and stop complaining about what El Al does. You should be thanking HaShem for Him giving us all such a competent and safe airline to bring us home to Israel.

  10. Quote… from Arutz Sheva ……..”According to Channel 2, a group of haredim began to riot on the flight to Israel after it became clear that they would not arrive before Shabbat began. The haredim allegedly pushed flight crew, cursed stewardesses, and threatened to forcibly break into the cockpit.

    “In midst of my deep sleep I heard shouts of ‘liars, cheaters,’ and raised fists and the shouts at the flight attendants who burst into tears,” recounted an eyewitness.”

  11. If what I posted is not true, then someone needs to get with Arutz Sheva and sue them for posting false information. Whatever happened, it is giving all of us a bad name but more importantly all this is profaning the Name of our HaShem, and He does not take lightly to such actions. Whether this be lies and giving out false information or whether this is the truth and some idiot Jews started an uproar threatening people on that flight…. neither should be happening…. so someone needs to get to the bottom of them and correct this information for the sake of the Name of our G-d.

  12. My feeling has always been. If there is time when you leave to do the journey twice before shabbos then you should leave if not go after shabbos.

    So eg Lakewood to Brooklyn takes nearly two hours in normal traffic you leave the latest 4 hours before shabbos.

    The flight to EY takes about 12hours plus checking in and landing (say 3 hours)so you leave 27 hours before which actually means 34 hours before shabbos (with time difference). So the latest flight to arrive in EY before shabbos in the winter is around on Thursday. Anything later is irresponsible.

  13. Should’ve never been on that flight even the regular schedule is too tight. Scheduled to land 11:50 am especially in the winter waay too late.

  14. I had the pleasure of working with the Chabad shaliach and his rebetzin a few years ago. It comes as no surprise to me that they engineered a wonderful Shabbos for those stranded in Athens.

  15. Not getting involved,

    So much hate and rage about the eruv, still? It’s time to move on. Experts in dinei eruvin erected them, they are kosher, reliable poskim say so and people use them (BH).

    If you can’t get over it, repeat after me: Womp. Womp.

  16. The flight was supposed to land five hours before shabbos, not two hours. That seems like enough time to cover all expected delays. A five-hour delay is not expected and one is not required to anticipate it. What if they’d left ten hours for delays and the flight was delayed eleven hours; would you still complain?

  17. ‘If the State of Israel would be a link in the chain of Jewish tradition, if it paves the way for the “end of days”, then all the sacrifices are worthwhile, all the alters we have built to found the state are sacred and precious.. But if the State of Israel would become a secular kingdom without Torah, without sanctity, without the Sabbath, without Jewish education, without family purity, a state in which Jewish uniqueness will be erased, then the price we are paying for her in blood and tears is too heavy.’ (The Rav Speaks trans. delivered by the Rav at Mizrachi Conventions 1962-1967)

  18. Time for Truth,

    What’s your point?
    Now we’re going to blame the secular state.
    Where’s the sacrifice for the heilige Shabbos by frum people by taking a razon thin window to Shabbos of a flight?
    There’s a place for the Rav’s speech, but it doesn’t apply here.

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