After Israeli bus companies agreed to separate genders on certain bus lines around Israel to respect the sensitivities of ultra-Orthodox Jews, it seems Israeli national carrier El Al is now following suit.
Debra Ryder of Florida boarded an El Al flight recently from New York to Israel, only to find that a haredi man was sitting in her designated seat, Army Radio reported Thursday. Ryder was told that she could not sit there because other haredi men sitting in the same row did not want to sit next to her.
A flight attendant directed Ryder to another seat on the plane, even though she requested the original seat for medical reasons. She was forced to sit in the other seat for the entire duration of the flight, Army Radio said.
“In a subtle way, the flight attendant hinted that the men were religious, that they saw me and refused to get up from the seat,” Ryder said. “It was clear that the flight attendant did not know how to deal with the situation.
“They didn’t even ask me [if they could sit there] and I felt humiliated. If they would have asked me first, it would have been different. I never imagined I would have to experience something like this.”
Ryder contacted El Al and demanded the company compensate her to the amount of NIS 50,000 for the grief caused her by the incident and for the gender discrimination she says she suffered.
In addition, in a letter sent by her lawyer, Orly Erez Lukhovski, from the Israel Religious Action Center, Ryder demanded that El Al distribute clear guidelines to the company’s employees on how to act in such cases.
In response, El Al said: “El Al flight attendants are at the service of passengers, they are faced with different requests and they try to help as much as possible. The passenger’s complaint will be looked into and dealt with accordingly.”
Source: Israel Hayom