El Al Airlines has announced its staff will “immediately” deplane any passenger who refuses to sit next to another passenger for any reason.
The news comes just days after two women agreed to move from their assigned seats after four haredi Orthodox men refused to sit by them — even though a court ruling bans such action.
On June 22, four Orthodox men flying on an El Al flight from New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport to Tel Aviv refused to take their assigned seats next to female passengers, NBC News reported.
The kerfuffle delayed the flight’s scheduled departure time by an hour and 15 minutes, as flight attendants resolved the issue, witness and Israeli rapper Khen Rotem wrote on Facebook.
Nearly a year ago to the day, an Israeli court ruled in a landmark decision that airline staffers cannot ask female passengers to rearrange their seats on planes to accommodate men.
The case was filed against the carrier in 2015 by Renee Rabinowitz, an 82-year-old Holocaust survivor who was asked to move seats on a flight from Newark, N.J. to Tel Aviv, NBC reports.
NICE Systems software CEO Barak Eiliam was quick to condemn El Al’s decision to move the women in last week’s flight, writing on social media that his company would not fly with the Israeli flag-carrier until it changed its “practice and actions discriminating [against] women.”
“At NICE we don’t do business with companies that discriminate against race, gender or religion,” he wrote on LinkedIn.
On June 26, El Al CEO Gonen Ussishkin made the announcement that “any traveler who refuses to sit next to another traveler will be immediately removed from the flight.”
“Anyone who flies in Israel’s national airline company feels the values on which we built our company: egalitarian regardless of religion, race or gender,” Ussishkin said.
Representatives for the carrier did not immediately return Fox News’ request for additional comment on the story.
– With AP