As YWN has been reporting, two El Al flights from NY to Israel were heavily delayed on Erev Shabbos to due to the Thursday night snowstorm in New York City. Flights 008 and 002 from New York to Tel Aviv, departed with a scheduled landing on Shabbos.
Flight 002 landed in Athens before Shabbos, where passengers were put up by El Al in a hotel, and the local Chabad hosting and catering over 120 passengers for Shabbos.
Flight 008 also departed late, but it was a flight that to begin with was supposed to land at around 3:40PM on Friday (Shekiya was approximately 4:40PM in Tel Aviv) and thus carrying little if any Shomer Shabbos passengers. Regardless, the plane was going to land in Rome for Shabbos in line with El Al’s policy of not landing in Tel Aviv on Shabbos. However, due to a seriously ill person on board a Shayla was presented to Rishon L’Tzion HaGaon HaRav Yitzchak Yosef Shlita, who ruled that the plane should continue to Israel, and land on Shabbos due to Pikuach Nefesh.
Meanwhile, the Israeli media is full of fake news, blaming Chareidim for the flight landing in Athens, with some even claiming that they “were violent”.
Once again, an opportunity for ‘chareidi bashing’ does not get passed up, and prominent news agencies painted a most distasteful picture of what occurred.
A KAN 11 News report stated Chareidim were unruly, shouting, cursing and even pushed and shoved members of the El Al cabin crew, creating a chaotic situation.
Prominent Israeli news correspondent Yehuda Schlesinger was among those on the flight, a person who is not chareidi or frum, and he describes what he saw, a far cry from the ‘fake news’ reports:
He speaks from Athens and explains for one thing, the cabin crew was clueless to events on the ground as they anxiously awaited to take off for Israel, and El Al did not keep passengers in the loop, “yet there was no uprising and I documented everything….I saw when chareidim insisted on knowing what was going on, and this too was not violent. The only ‘uprising’ was when the chareidim gathered together and sang songs. The one time there was concern was two hours before the flight taking off and we were told we would arrive two hours before Shabbos. Then, we were told we would land in Athens” – this video ends. However, Schlesinger dispels the lies of how “once again chareidim rioted on an El Al flight”.
A letter published by YWN on Motzei Shabbos, written by a Frum passenger on the flight,Ben Chafetz of Cleveland, describes the atmosphere during the special Shabbos in Athens and how the stranded passengers really acted amid the realization they would have to make do with whatever they were given.
Chafetz also claimed the flight crew arrived late to the flight, adding to their delayed departure from New York.
Back in July 2018, YWN also reported that despite reports to the contrary, even El Al admitted delays on a flight from JFK to Ben-Gurion were not the result of a chareidi passenger refusing to be seated next to a woman as reported, but because of a delay in the positioning of the plane on the runway. The El Al statements read; “The details reported on the subject were inaccurate to say the least. In reality, the delay was not related to the event that was publicized. There was a delay in the move of the plane to the takeoff runway of an hour without any connection to the incident,” referring to earlier reports that chareidi passengers caused a flight delay after insisting on moving seats away from a woman.
Once again, the fake anti-chareidi news was dispelled, but there are those who do not hesitate to repeat the same anti-chareidi mantra whenever an opportunity arises.
To end on a positive note, there are reports, albeit yet unconfirmed, that $15,000 was raised in Athens over Shabbos by auctioning the aliyos and that money is going to be donated to build a Mikvah in Athens.
סיוון יקרה מאוד, אנו מאוד מבינים ,לצערי את פחות מבינה במקרה זה ! א. אלעל עשתה הכל על מנת להגיע לפני שבת .ב.יכול להיות שהיו טעויות בדרך אבל הם מסוג הטעויות הבלתי נמנעות. ג. הנושא כרגע הוא אלימות כן או לא ! ואת ואני נגד אלימות ד. מקווה שהצלחתי להסביר. ערב טוב רני רהב דובר אל על
— ran rahav (@RahavRan) November 18, 2018
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)