El Al Managing Director Addresses Anti-Chareidi Sentiments After Latest Story, Promises Orthodox Jewish Chamber to Continue Working with the Frum Community

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Orthodox Chamber of Commerce CEO Duvi Honig hosted a meeting today at El Al headquarters in New York City with Yoram Elgrabli EL AL’s managing director of North and Central America.

Also participating in the meeting was Yated Ne’eman executive editor Rabbi Yitzchok Hisiger.

The meeting was called after an El Al plane bound for Israel that was delayed from taking off in New York was diverted to Athens on Friday to ensure that Shabbos-observant passengers were properly accommodated.

The incident sparked widespread anti-chareidi sentiments across Israeli and global media, a fact that disturbed Elgrabli greatly.

Chareidim are perhaps our most important clients,” Elgrabli told Mr. Honig and Rabbi Hisiger. “The negative coverage of the shomer Shabbat Jews on that plane is disgraceful and false.”

Elgrabli stressed that El Al is proud to be the only shomer Shabbos airline in the world, a banner it wears proudly.

“We are the only airline, as well, that has its own kosher kitchen,” he added.

Elgrabli said that he’d be looking into the details of a video clip brought to his attention by Mr. Honig. The video, aired by Israel’s Channel 10, depicts chareidim on the flight to Athens shouting and unruly. A second clip that appears to feature the exact same footage shows those same passengers singing happily. There is suspicion that the audio was doctored or replaced to purposely malign the chareidim on the plane.

Elgrabli thanked Mr. Honig for arranging the meeting in an effort to bring together Israel’s national airline with the greater religious community in an expression of unity and to set the record straight.

The Orthodox Chamber of Commerce, which works to assist and provide opportunities for Jewish-owned businesses across the United States, made headlines last year when Mr. Honig spoke out in the Knesset for shemiras Shabbos. This matter is one that is close to Mr. Honig’s heart.

“We are here to serve the community at large, with no agenda other than boosting Jewish businesses, helping business-owners, and standing up for vital issues like shemiras Shabbos,” said Mr. Honig. “It is an honor to meet with my friend, Mr. Algrabi, for the greater good.”

Rabbi Hisiger praised El Al for serving as the standard bearer in professionalism and security.

“El Al has continued to serve as the model to be replicated in the world of aviation when it comes to safety and security,” Rabbi Hisiger told Algrabi. “As the only shomer Shabbos airline, El Al creates a kiddush Hashem week in and week out, publically demonstrating what the holy day means to the Jewish people as a whole. This is a remarkable zechus.”

Algrabi commented on a recent incident reported in the press in which an Orthodox Jewish man allegedly caused a flight to be delayed because he wouldn’t sit next to a female passenger.

“There was actually a mechanical problem that caused the flight’s delay,” Algrabi said. It is unfortunate when untruths are reported, leading to the painting of an entire community in a negative light.”

The Orthodox Chamber of Commerce will be serving as an exclusive vehicle through which members of the Orthodox community can respectfully express questions and concerns to El Al in a manner that will ensure that issues are addressed by the upper echelon of El Al’s administration in a timely manner. The chamber may be reached at duvi@ojchamber.com.

{Matzav.com Newscenter}

15 COMMENTS

  1. When will the Frum Start using its buying power to stop being mistreated by Elal???

    “chareidim are perhaps our most important clients,”

    I usually fly Elal and have NEVER felt the above quote to be true.

    We’ve all experienced non-Jewish airlines being more sensitive than Elal ,to matters important to frum Jews flying.

    A few months ago Elal LIED about a flight being delayed because chareidim didn’t want to be seated, now they lie here again and we like losers just keep coming back to them.
    I don’t mind sitting near a women, or not having a minyan but I respect those who are makpid , especially when they politely request, and are the majority of the flight. That doesn’t stop Elal from intentionally making it difficult.

    When will we stop being losers and insist that we “ perhaps the most important client “ at least be treated no worse than a chiloni or take the many dollars we spend on this company elsewhere??????

  2. It’s very simple. Who made the call to lie to the passengers? Was that person fired? There are times when despite justification for making an errant call (the person making the call probably had good reasons for their actions) the responsible party has to shoulder that responsibility. (The buck stops here).

  3. Only someone so foolish to start up with shabbos, would be so foolish to antagonize the chareidim who are the bread and butter of their business.
    BOYCOTT ELAL !!!!!! THAT’S THE ONLY LANGUAGE THEY UNDERSTAND !!!!!!!! DON’T LET THEM GET AWAY WITH IT AGAIN……

    • The only people that started up with shabbos are people that take a 6:30pm flight out of JFK to eretz yisroel on a thursday evening… Most mehudar chareidim refrain from taking such late flights out especially during a snowstorm…..
      This is the bigger problem…

  4. Wouldn’t it be appropriate for shomrei Shabbos not to fly on flights scheduled to land on Erev Shabbos?! Firstly, it may be halachiclly problematic. Even if not we are told ” Chochum eino brosho” seemingly flying on such a flight is not wise.

    • EXACTLY!!! I feel like I’m the only one talking about this over and over again. People like Sorotzkin: supposedly a chashuv man should know a lot better than this. little me, would not fly after chatzos noon on thursday out of jfk to eretz yisroel. I think this whole rukus by the chareidim is to compensate for their guilt and try to make themselves look good….

      • It’s about time you start learning hilchos lashon hara on a daily basis. Perhaps then you’ll learn how to be dan lekaf zchus other Jews, especially gedolei Torah like Rav Sorotzkin shlit”a. Perhaps he had an emergency where he had to take the last flight on Thursday? There could have been many reasons why he was on that plane. The way you judge others that is how Hashem judges you.

  5. As one that travels a few times a year to and from eretz yisroel. I’ve flown every single airline over many years and have come to the conclusion that no matter what; nobody gives such honest and good service to chareidim as El Al. I have had my diamond earring fall off my ear ; they notified the cleaners and it was returned to me right away. My mother left 14,000 dollars on the flight only to remind herself 2 days later and they had it returned. We as a big family only have the best things to say about El AL.
    This flight was full of Meshulachim; shnorrers …. They said they are going to sue which infringes on most chareidi americans will. THEY SHOULD NOT HAVE ENTERED THAT FLIGHT AT ALL OR EVEN HAVE GONE TO THE AIRPORT AT 6:30PM ON A THURSDAY NIGHT LET ALONE DURING A SNOWSTORM……. Little me, wouldve known better than that!

  6. Please stop running around with the Shomer Shabbos banner. ElAl is not Shomer Shabbos! Quit being fakers. Stop!

    You do whatever you can by finding every single loophole, by twisting halocha into a pretzel in order to conduct business. If you are truly shomer shabbos, there is no way you would have a flight leaving Israel before 6 hours or more has passed after the time ofmotzai shabnos

  7. Elal is shomer Shabbos? Every time an airplane with that livery flies over a city on Shabbos or yom tov, or moves on the ground in ANY airport, ElAl gives a major bleep you to shabbos and jews.

  8. What would be the halacha if they landed on shabbat? Would the plane have been their home and they would have 2000 amot to move about? They got on before shabbat, there shouldn’t have been chillul shabbat for the passengers landing on shabbat-
    How much chillul shabbat was there getting another plane to take the non religious to Israel and all the logistics in coordinating getting everyone settled and back to Israel after shabbat

  9. Duvi, your initiative of meeting with the CEO management is blessed. They need to focus on their business – giving service and not promoting their secular liberal agenda on passengers. This is another of incidences where Haredim were being shown to behave inappropriately in EL AL. It caused tremendous HILLUL HASHEM! It could have been avoided. The problem is that EL AL treats the religious (not only the Haredim) for granted. The staff of EL AL treats religious not as customers but more like second rate citizens – non-pluralistic primitive people that need to be ordered around and bullied. In recent years I almost have stopped flying EL AL. Flying is hard enough and I do not like the abuse of EL AL staff. On most of the foreign flights the staff go out of the way to accommodate me. No scenes. No bullying around. They are trained on multiculturalism and every happy passenger will return. The EL AL staff instead of giving me and other religious fliers service, bully me with their secular antireligious agendas. EL AL will work to make the flying experience not only uncomfortable but will work to inflame situations of Hillul Hashem – which is unforgivable. The seating of men Haredim next to women can easily be avoided if EL AL would use their computerized reservation system and avoid placing those male passengers who order Glatt meals next to women, like other airlines!

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