Rav Shalom Ber Sorotzkin: Either El Al Apologize or Face Boycott


Rav Shalom Ber Sorotzkin, head of Mosdos Ateres Shlomo, has issued an ultimatum: Either apologize for causing religious Jews to violate the Shabbos last week or face a boycott.

In a letter to El AL, Rav wrote that “if by Sunday evening an apology is not issued, unfortunately, we will have to start preferring other airlines.”

Passengers on what started out as direct El Al flight LYO2 to Israel from New York arrived back in Israel early Sunday after a Shabbos-long diversion in Athens that gave 150 travelers the bonding experience of a lifetime and the Chabad-Lubavitch emissaries of the city the chance to strut their stuff.

After much pandemonium due to reportedly mixed messages from El Al about the cause of what turned out to be more than a three-hour delay on the tarmac at JFK Airport on Thursday evening, the plane took off, despite the requests of many passengers to disembark for fear the flight would not make it to Tel Aviv before Shabbos.

The watchful passengers eventually did disembark prior to their scheduled destination, but not until hours later, when El Al announced that the flight would not, in fact, make Tel Aviv in time for Shabbos, and so diverted the plane to Athens.

While the decision caused some further confusion and consternation about how Shabbos would be kept in Athens on about an hour’s notice, the story for the most part at that point began to turn from worry and concern to relief and calm.


Rabbi Sorotzkin, who was on the flight, has been negotiating with El Al CEO Gonen Ussishkin over an apology to the passengers. Last

In 2006, El Al was boycotten after it allowed several flights to take off on Shabbos to clear a backlog in Miami. After the airline refused to promise that it wouldn’t happen again, Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv called on people to cancel their flights with El Al even if the move meant suffering an economic loss. Hundreds canceled their flights and a month-long boycott commenced, costing El Al an estimated NIS 1 million a day. El Al eventually apologized.

{Matzav.com Israel, with reporting by JNS}


  1. I’d join the boycott in a second!!!

    To me it’s beyond a religious issue. To mistreat, abuse , and disrespect a big portion of your customer base in a free market ( ironically elal says “ we know you have other choices, thank you for choosing elal) if they don’t shape up I’d happily take the business elsewhere

  2. I just looked at the online pictures of the Auschwitz Crematoria.
    Let us not give the gentiles reasons to enjoy a new jewish internal strife.

  3. I wonder what Rav Moshe Feinstein ztl would have done.I can’t imagine he would have behaved this way.Makes me Miss the Gedolim of yesterday who didn’t seem to have thus sense of entitlement.

    • Why of course, he would have asked you what he should do! He would’nt want to chas veshalom insult the wonderful people at El Al, oh we’re not entitled…


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