WATCH: Rav Sholom Ber Sorotzkin Fullfills Promise to BOYCOTT EL AL; Cuts “Matmid” Card For News Reporters

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One of the passengers on last week’s El Al ‘Shabbos in Athens’ flight was Rav Sholom Ber Sorotzkin, the Rosh Yeshiva of the massive Ateres Shlomo network of Yeshivos and Kolellim.

Rav Sorotzkin released a letter on Friday addressed to the CEO of El Al, threatening a boycott on Israel’s national airline if a full apology for having scapegoated the fiasco on “violence” by Chareidi passengers was not issued by Sunday evening.

El Al refused to apologize, so Rav Sorotzkin carried out his promise to boycott.

[IN HER OWN WORDS: Passenger Says EL AL Pilot LIED to Everyone “WE WERE HELD HOSTAGE” — Listen To AUDIO of Lying Pilot Talk To Air Traffic Control]

In front of multiple TV cameras and reporters, Rav Sorotzkin stood in Ben Gurion Airport, and cut his “Masmid Program” frequent flyer card. He told the media that he already has a list of 180 people – most of the Roshei Yeshiva and heads of Mosdos – who will no longer fly El Al due to their refusal to apologize.

He gave a brief statement to the media, followed by singing and dancing to “Yismichu B’malchuscha Shomrei Shabbos”.

[FAKE NEWS EXPOSED: Watch How Channel 10 Changed Video of SINGING El Al Passengers to “SCREAMING”]

In should be noted, that Rav Sorotzkin has been flying El Al to the US and other countries on the average of once every other week (at the very minimum) for the past 13 years. He sometimes flies once a week due to his need to fundraise to the tune of millions of dollars to fund his massive network of Yeshivos and Kollelim.

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.

Readers might recall, in July 2018, YWN reported on El Al allowing media reports to scapegoat delays on a flight from JFK to Ben-Gurion on Chareidi passengers refusing to be seated next to a woman.

Only later did El Al issue a statement reading: “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 the delay after insisting on moving seats away from a woman.

[MAILBAG: El Al Should “Man Up”, Stop LYING, And Take Responsibility – Here Is Why]

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


52 COMMENTS

  1. I just want to say i live in monsey and my rav spoke about this on Friday night and he said no frum person should fly to Israel on the Thursday night flight he said its cutting it way to close to shabbos and frum people should fly Wednesday evening or early Thursday morning and he is 100 percent right. No frum person should fly to israel Thursday night

  2. BY tearing up his MATMID card he destroyed thousands of dollars,but of course him being one of the worlds championship FUNDRAISERS it is not his money that he just threw away but the hard earned dollars of the people who donate their money to his yeshivas

  3. Fullfills Promise & I am also fulfilling my promise, and am Davka today making several reservations on El Al, of-course flying nice and early in the week. Let him fly United & Delta on Thursday nites, and land in Lod 1 or 2 hours into Shabbos, instead of into Athens 1 hour before Shabbos.

  4. Kol HaKavod to Rav Sorotzkin for sticking to his principles.
    However, its still unclear what the boycott is about as they didn’t technically fly on Shabbos and the nasty comments about Chareidim is plain talk for these lefty secular Israelis. It’s not gonna change anytime soon.

  5. Nu, it’s about time. The Roshei Yeshiva of the Mir Yerushalayim have been flying United for quite some time now. Only gullible fools with too much money on their hands fly ElAl. My older sons & daughters learned in Eretz Yisroel in Yeshiva/seminary over the years. Never once did they take ElAl. Yes, they had a stopover in different Countries. So what. Baruch Hashem they arrived safely back and forth every time. ElAl has become the new Tower Air (I used them back in the 80’s)

  6. Flying earlier in the week does not solve the problem. It has nothing to do with when you fly. What happened just now was just a symptom of the greater problem. The point is that El Al seems to have a disdain for frum Jews even though they are a large portion of their client. So basically a boycott is letting them know that they better get their priorities straight.

  7. THERE IS NO EXCUSE for the pilots behavior! He lied to the passengers! People spend a lot of money fir their tickets and should NEVER be abused like that! This flight was HOURS late they could have made it in ample time before Shabbos if it would have been on time .

  8. Why do we need El Al if there are other airlines. El Al doesn’t respect frum Jews. Sometimes you see some really nice and friendly employees, but the company as a whole doesn’t seem to respect Torah Jews or values. Again who need El Al anyway if other airlines fly to E.Y.

  9. My rov has no problem with the El al 600 flight. Until this year it was 700. You get Eretz yisroel 1230 usually its no problem. Of course, if you want to be mahmir you can leave on Sunday.

  10. Here are those posters for whom neither Chillul Shabbos nor incitement against Torah loyal Jews is an issue. Above all they are brazen enough to criticize one of the biggest builders of Torah institutions in history.
    Fact is ELAL tricked and kidnapped 180 chareidim on the plane against the pilots promise to let them disembark
    Fact is ELAL knew Shabbos would become difficult for the 180 chareidim but didn’t care
    Fact is ELAL flew the aircraft (so what if it was empty) on Shabbos from Athen to Tel Aviv
    Fact is ELAL spew hatred & incitement against the chareidim with their publications of fabricated stories the 2nd time in just a few months.
    Fact is ELAL continues to brazenly lie into the face of hundreds of passengers and refuses to apologise for all the above.
    Many chareidim have avoided ELAL in the past despite inconvenience and higher cost but out of principle and adherence to the call of the Rabbonim, something that deserves admiration instead of criticism.
    Chareidy and Shabbos hater 147 & company will one day give reconing for their unwavering support to this mechallei Shabbos and Torah haters.
    All this does not encourage flying late and boarding late when there is a delay. But ELAL is a public company answerable to the Israeli public as well their clients worldwide including many Shomrei Shabbos and must be held to account for their mischief.

  11. ” El Al doesn’t respect frum Jews. Sometimes you see some really nice and friendly employees, but the company as a whole doesn’t seem to respect Torah Jews or values. Again who need El Al anyway if other airlines fly to E.Y.”
    ——————————–
    The day you start respecting elal and non frum jews is the day the non jews including elal will respect the frum jews.
    Sorry to burst your bubble ,but the sinah works both ways unfortunately.
    Its a 2 way street when it comes to having peace.

  12. One thing this boycott has accomplished, even if it wasn’t the original intention, is that it forced the Israeli secular media, who didn’t report on the chareidi side of this story,to finally report it.

  13. Well, before the gedoleo Yisroel put out an official boycot on ElAl, it’s worth remembering a number of security advantages unique to EL AL:
    1) Every single ELAL airplane has a ‘bomb proof’ luggage holds that can withstand ‘small explosions’ in flight
    2) Every single ELAL flight has shabak trained armed guards sitting among passengers
    3) Every single ELAL airplane has an expensive state-of-the-art ‘anti- anti aircraft missile system’ on board.
    4) Profile screening for all ElAL passengers is done on an individual basis with each passenger assigned a security ‘risk’ assessment.
    5) The check-in of all ELAL luggage anyware in the world-is subjected to x-ray and classified screening procedures- unique to ELAL
    6) All ELAL pilots are ex-Israel airforce pilots.

    So if you can afford it, until there is a ban issued from the gedolim, it may still be best to fly with Israel’s national airline….

  14. To all those were bashing and proclaiming that we should just we should just walk away from El Al:That is copping out

    It’s a problem & Work it out

    What with this Childish Clip

  15. Please let me know all of you Chareidim:-
    1) Will you now bury your dead in USA? Since only El AL will be there for you to transport Meisim.
    2) Will you still be cutting corners flying out to Israel on Thursday nites?
    B’H I am a Shabbos and Yom-Tov Lover, so fly well in advance of Shabbos & Yom-Tov, as well as an Israel Lover, who ha s a plot in Israel, knowing El Al shall be there at my hour of need, as I a there at their hour of need.

  16. The reason why the phony story of chareidy violence was believable was because of the many instances ( some of which I and my friends have witnessed) where chareidim disrupted and held up flights over seating, or stood in aisles to daven.
    Only ElAl put up with this .

  17. DavidtheKanoi I agree to what you posted in general, (you will see what I want to modify slightly) not that I have to give my haskama to facts. I just want to say that of course we must absolutely stand up for kovod haTorah (as you were doing) but we should also daven that those that are confused should become unconfused and should do teshuvah. (we all need to do teshuvah) We wish upon all Jews to only have goodness in this life and the next and we should do only good and if we make mistakes we should do teshuvah and Hashem will forgive us. (even though it says hamevazeh talmid chachom ain refuah lemakaso – even so teshuvah works for everything)

  18. Can’t wait for the accounts of non-Jews on Swiss, Austrian, Lufftanza, etc., flights of the chilul haShem caused by chareidim with refusals to sit next to women and other disruptions…

  19. Takes-2-tango, forget about respect, people need to be RESPECTFUL to each other. Chareidim are not demanding respect from El Al. They are demanding EL AL act with respect and mentzlichkeit that if their crew comes late they should let Shomrei Shabbos disembark from the flight, they cannot lie about them to the media and generally act disrespectful towards Chareidim.

    I personally have never witnessed Chareidim acting disrespectful towards El Al employees.

  20. @ Davidthe Kanoi…..

    You listed facts,facts,facts,facts…
    Here’s one you missed:
    Before they boarded, they were at gate for about 2 hours… If Shabbos is important, you don’t worry about compensation, luggage or anything else… You are a frum Jew,then practice what you preach and don’t try to spin it… You ‘re at nisoyon, letz see what you’ll do about it…. Don’t blame others like immature pacifier suckers…Had they done that, none of your facts would have happened… This fact is very, very stubborn, and won’t budge..
    Don’t insult our intelligence with toire’lach.. . Miut D’miut, buttel beshishim, kal vochomer, ask your posek, plenty of time, halacha, not the halacha, Rambam, a heen… a hoon….
    Treat ,people of EL Al as humans on your flights be wary of your status of frum Jews in the eyes of other passengers, as so many chasheva posters declared here…. And you will get respect in return… I,’m ashamed of your shtick, you’re embarrassing us all…
    Go El Al…….

  21. Here’s a lesson about Shabbos for all of us, me included.
    As a little kid, I was listening as an older man, American born, wearing 2 hearing aides, tell my father how he was never mechallel Shabbos in his life.. During the Depression, when you were told… Don’t work Saturday, don ‘t come in Monday…. He was left without work many times, was in danger of his landlord throwing him out on the streets because he couldn’t pay rent on time…
    He found jobs here and there until Hashem helped him with a small business… An ordinary Jew who was an Am Haaretz, didn’t know hilchos Shabbos, but knew Shabbos only knew to read from a siddur…. built a family of shomrei Torah, mitzvos….Was never mechalel Shabbos…Sacrificed everything for it… A poshete Yid, a tzaddik
    What an Olam Haboh… What an inspiring true story…

    OLAM HOFECH RO’EESIE…
    Rav Yosef…. Bava Basra..

  22. Smart move. Now the media will be forced to report what REALLY happened, regardless of whether an actual boycott takes plave.
    I’m sure that was the entire point of this.

  23. As a chareidi Jew myself who has flown EL AL hundreds of times in the last 50 years ,i absolutely sympathize and understand EL AL’s disdain and dislike and yes sometimes hatred towards chareidi Jews. the CHILLUL HASHEM and absolute none MENTSCHLICHKAIT some frum people cause is absolutely mind boggling,and we all know what that is,whether its the SHACHRIS MYNYANIM 4 in the morning thereby waking up half of the passengers in the middle of the night and later on blocking all the isles for the crewmembers and blocking the bathrooms (because most of the time that’s exactly where the minyan is located), and of course when almost every flight is delayed and cannot lift off because of some deranged women obsessed frummies who refuse to sit next to a woman,remember a couple of months ago when a flight was delayed 11 hours because a bunch of ignorant savages refused to sit next to a woman.
    When there is air turbulence and the pilot announced for everyone to sit down and fasten your seat belts,most of the time it’s the frum ones who need to be told 4 and 5 times before they sit down.
    Yes,us frum people need to take a good look in the mirror and see if it’s not ourselves who cause all this hatred.

  24. 1) I’d like to request of the Rav to please transfer all his points to me. My Matmid # TL 9769801

    2) All El Al has to do is run a sale and everyone will go running back to them.

  25. After reading all these posts, some of us will conclude that we owe Sorotzkin a big todah rabah for taking his business and that of other Chareidim away from El Al and to share the Chareidi flight minhagim with other airlines (at least until they are prohibited from boarding). Thank you for opening more seats and assuring we will no longer have to endure the practices noted above (demanding to be seated away from women, standing in the aisles to daven, screaming at flight attendants because the seal on a “special super-glat meas was broken, or just ignoring the directives of flight attendants. Yes, El Al will initially lose some revenues but in the longer-term, it will win back customers who fled El Al because of the crazies who made flying on El Al a traumatic experience. El Al has a lot of work to do to achieve parity with the “best” international carriers, but not having these Chareidi to deal with will make it much easier

  26. NEWS FLASH:

    EL AL OFFERING FREE TXTS TO EUROPE.
    SAID THAT EL AL NEVER DESCRIBED THE CHAREIDIM AS VIOLENT…..
    IT WAS SOME REPORTER WHO MADE THAT ACCUSATION, NOT EL AL…

  27. Reb Dons: The facts you mentioned albeit important existed at the time of previous boycotts as well and Gedolim still felt it’s Shabbos that protects us not ELAL technology.
    Ziongate: While it may be correct that frum passengers should not have boarded the plane in first place it does not excuse ELAL of its disgusting behavior.
    You love Israel, that’s precisely why the Gedolim objected to Zionism: you have to make a choice either Shabbos (and the rest of the Torah) or Israel is more important – you obviously have chosen Nationalism over your religion.

  28. A few points:

    1. The card that is shown is a luggage tag, not a Matmid card. These tags are issued by the airline to Matmid members so that their luggage is handled more quickly (at least in theory).

    2. Cutting even an actual membership card is meaningless. The Matmid number is in El Al’s system, and is used without any need to present the card. I have almost never needed to present my actual card – the number is enough (and is printed on the boarding pass as well).

    3. The issue has apparently been resolved to R’ Sorotzkin’s satisfaction, as he flew out to the US on El Al this morning, following a not-very-convincing apology from El Al. In any case – it’s over.

    4. With respect to the behavior of some Chareidim on El Al flights – I have unfortunately seen too many times where Chareidim behaved in a way that was a major Chilul Hashem. I have also seen times where Chareidim have behaved in with particular respect and refinement, thereby causing a Kidush Hashem. The key point is that if you stand out as “different”, you will be seen as representing your “group” or community – so you need to be especially careful in how you act. I’ve seen this myself when I’ve worked in groups where I was the only one with a Yarmulka – it made me extra conscious of my behavior to make sure that I would not cause an (inadvertent) Chilul Hashem.

    an Israeli Yid

  29. Now that the “Sorotzkin Boycott” is over, its worth reiterating that the frequently referenced (by myself and other posters) bad behavior on the part of Chareidi passengers was generally limited to a relatively small percentage of Chareidi passengers but still in proportion, a higher percentage than the typical commercial flight where every few weeks you read about some guy who drank too much and was removed from the flight or delayed boarding. The percentages here on El Al are considerably higher and the frequency of delays attributable to such behavior much greater. Hopefully both El Al and their passengers will regard this as a “teaching/learning” moment and come away with some resolve to perform better in the future (although I’m not holding my breadth)

  30. David Kanoi,
    1…. Lots of Gedolim suoported Zionism, only not your kind.

    2….. You’re also deliberately twisting my post around, precisely because as a kanoi, you feel entitled to it..
    Can’t you read my comments on Shabbos ? You deliberately and bemeizid lied about the course of events that night… You left out the most salient fact because you’d rather speak loshon horah and meraglim talk against Israel..
    So listen good… I am an unapologetic lover of Israel…. You, the groiser kanoi, lied about my post and pretty dumb ,considering everybody can read it themselves… I caught your deliberate omission and now you’re sulking because your chevra risked being mechallel Shabbos befarhesyeh..

  31. Gadolhadorah, Sorotzkin was “easier to sell out” than Esav with a bowl of lentil soup. The truth is Sorotzkin really doesn’t fly with most of us on El Al as he insists on only Business Class.

  32. IsraeliYid,

    My remarks are not intended to you or those like you ( one of my doctors) who travel almost weekly on these flights..
    They were made for this particular flight under those particular circumstances.
    I’m also rancored by the non-stop villification of Israel, no matter what they do or don’t do. El Al has its issues, but it’ll be a snowy day in August before they have anything nice to say…
    This rabbi on an ego trip should be ashamed of what he did… But he won’t .

  33. Davidthe kanoi: Of course it’s Hashem who protects us, however we have a chiyuv hishtadlus to take all possible safety precautions. (see chinuch mitzvah of maakeh). Now, if a plane- chasvesholom- can be brought down by a single anti aircraft missile, in which case everyone on board ‘doesn’t stand a chance’ – what heter is there to travel on a plane that doesn’t have an anti missile system on it? Irresponsible wouldn’t you say? The ELAL system has already been used to save an ELAL flight in Kenya…….

  34. Truth,
    I ‘ve already talked about this on another thread..
    There were LOTS of pro-Zionist gedolim, I don’t know who expressed regret, but guess what??

    In short…..Israel is a miraculous reality BH, its existence defies common sense…
    You can nicely put the words of those who were against it in shaimos…
    It’s the only country in the world on the up, every other including USA in decline.
    Hashem has ordained it, sometimes bavonoseinu harabim unfortunate things happen, but on the whole it’s a grand miracle… The shitas of yesteryear are forever irrelevant…Anybody who throws cold water on peoples’ enthusiasm for EY, is rachmono litzlan, in the bechina of those great gedolim….. The meraglim.

  35. ZionGate – not sure why you’re responding to me here, as I did not say anything about the issue you reference – at least not in this thread.

    As to the main points you’ve made – R’ Sorotzkin flies just about every week, so he’d be in the same category as other “commuters”. His main issue seemed to be with the El Al attitude – i.e., accusing Chareidim of violence toward the crew, or, at a minimum, repeating accusations that seem to be inaccurate. There is also place for a legitimate grievance against the pilot for saying that he’d return to the gate to let Shomer Shabbos passengers off, then taking off once they sat down.

    I am personally not R’ Sorotzkin’s biggest fan, and I think his “boycott” was a bit of a clown act, but El Al is also not innocent here. There is place for both sides to do some introspection.

    an Israeli Yid

  36. IsraelYid,
    I thought it was you who had written that you take flights every week if so, so I wan’t criticizing your schedule….. sorry, it was somebody else…

  37. ZionGate – no worries. I was more puzzled than anything else, so no offense taken. I did, in fact, note in another thread (or perhaps in the Coffee Room) that I fly frequently, but not that I fly weekly – but that was a different conversation. In any case, I agree that there is a lot of posturing going on here, and also about there being many Zionist Gedolim (as well as at least one Chareidi Gadol who became a Zionist – Rav Teichtel HY”D, author of Em Habanim Simecha), but I think the “tone” of the conversation here has gotten a bit overly heated. I may not agree with some of R’ Sorotzkin’s responses, but he was personally taken advantage of here – he was told by the crew that the flight would land in Israel before Shabbos, and was asked to, and did, make an announcement to that effect over the plane’s PA. I can therefore understand his personal feelings of grievance when the plane did not make it, and the stories about Chareidi violence came out.

    I think it’s time to turn down the temperature here…

    an Israeli Yid