More ultra-Orthodox Jews refuse to sit next to women on planes

This is becoming so common that it barely rates a mention, but what bothers me is the compliance of female passengers. Yes, it’s happened again: according to many venues, including Haaretz and the Jewish Chronicle  (see also the Daily Mail if you want to go downscale), a group of ultra-Orthodox Jewish men (“Haredis”), on an EasyJet flight from Tel Aviv to London refused to sit next to women after they boarded the plane. That caused considerable consternation, which was resolved when some compliant women offered to move:

Eventually, after a 15 minute stand-off, where the men were said to have blocked the aisles, some of the female passengers offered to move from their seats in order for the men to agree to sit down.

The passenger told the JC: “A group of around 10 ultra-Orthodox men caused absolute bedlam on the flight.

“It was infuriating to witness both for passengers and for the stewards, who tried but failed to control them.

“At one point there were about 10 men in black hats blocking the aisles and refusing to sit down.

“It was impossible for the stewards to get these people to listen to them.

“When some of the women got up and moved seats to ensure that the plane got to take off, some of these men never even thought about saying ‘thank you’.

That wasn’t the end of it:

Another Haredi — ultra-Orthodox — passenger plugged his cellphone into a USB port on the crew control panel in the stewards’ galley area in order to charge it, causing the plane’s exit lights to illuminate and panicking the staff until they realized the problem, according to the Chronicle.

What finally happened? The cops came onto the plane when it landed at Luton,  and escorted the men off the plane. There were no charges brought, and that was the end of it. But David Israel at The Jewish Press has beefed about the police, saying that the escort “humiliated the men” and made them do the “perp walk.” That article also seems to exculpate the men:

Here’s what happened next: the women next to whom the Haredi men refused to sit were nice enough (or practical enough) to move to different seats and, miraculously, the men in the black hats ended their “disruptive behavior.”

There’s no grousing that the men were trying to enforce their religious dictates on others in a secular space.

Yeah, according to author Israel, all that needs to happen in such cases is that some nice people should accept the misogyny of these men and, poof, everything will be all right!

What should have happened is that the police should have been called to board the plane in Tel Aviv and remove the men who didn’t want to sit next to women. Nobody should have to be inconvenienced because of the ludicrous fear of Haredis that they might—shudder—actually touch a woman. That could cause cooties! They can certainly practice their sexism in their own communities, but have no right to do so on a plane. Every company, including EasyJet, should have this policy: anybody refusing to sit next to a woman should just be removed from the plane, period. No woman should even be asked to move.

The perp walk was simply at the wrong end of the journey. It should have been at the beginning.

haredi-men-in-flight-477x318

Haredi men in flight Photo Credit: Yaakov Naumi/Flash90; from The Jewish Press piece

 

129 Comments

  1. Scote
    Posted February 16, 2017 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    I can certainly understand why many women do move, even though it’s the men who should deal. Who would want to sit next to such haughty and presumptuous man for an entire plane flight? Unfortunately, the airlines are rewarding their behavior, conditioning them to simply argue enough and get their way.

    • charitablemafioso
      Posted February 16, 2017 at 11:58 am | Permalink

      And if you’re a woman who doesn’t move, you could be blamed for delaying the flight instead of these socially backwards jerks.

    • Posted February 16, 2017 at 10:00 pm | Permalink

      If some passengers — *any* passengers — cause a disturbance by refusing to sit next to other passengers — *any* other passengers — then they should be removed from the plane and obliged to wait for a later flight which doesn’t include any of the passengers they object to. Better still, let them charter their own flight.

  2. merilee
    Posted February 16, 2017 at 11:58 am | Permalink

    bullies

    • Ken Phelps
      Posted February 16, 2017 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

      Assholes. It’s a subtle distinction.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted February 16, 2017 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

        Putzes, if you want to get even more subtle about distinctions.

  3. Posted February 16, 2017 at 11:58 am | Permalink

    Maybe airlines need a simple tick box when booking a ticket: “I agree to set next to passengers of either sex”.

    (It could be ticked by default; unticking it then takes you to a box inviting you to buy a ticket for an empty seat to sit next to.)

    • Martin Levin
      Posted February 16, 2017 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

      Good idea. Or maybe they could just take non-budget airlines and book seats together. Ugh!

  4. Frank Bath
    Posted February 16, 2017 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    If they can’t keep their hands to themselves they shouldn’t be allowed out of their homes.

  5. Colin
    Posted February 16, 2017 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    “What should have happened is that the police should have been called to board the plane in Tel Aviv and remove the men who didn’t want to sit next to women.”

    At first, I fully agreed with this, but on further consideration, they should have been kicked off the plane mid-flight.

    • sshort
      Posted February 16, 2017 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

      touché

    • Posted February 16, 2017 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

      🙂

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted February 16, 2017 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

      Impractical on most airliners. Sadly.

      The Boeing 727 had ventral airstairs at the rear that could be lowered in flight (obviously while the aircraft was below pressurisation altitude).

      The BAC 111, DC9 and Yak-40 also had ventral airstairs, but whether any of those could be lowered in mid-flight I’m not sure. In any case those airliners are not very common these days.

      cr

  6. Posted February 16, 2017 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    If you ignore the religious perspective, surely the behaviour of these men at face value crosses a line which would have had anyone else thrown off the plane before takeoff. So I agree with Jerry’s comment but I think they don’t need a special policy to deal with this, just use existing ones.

  7. sshort
    Posted February 16, 2017 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

    i’ve known a couple of pilots and my understanding is that ANY disturbance above simple complaints necessitates removing passengers as unfit to fly. for the safety of all concerned.

    not done enough, but after a simple sit down and be quiet a passenger should be removed and arrested. the crew does not have the time or expertise to ascertain if you are an asshole or so unstable you might put the whole plane at risk.

  8. Cate Plys
    Posted February 16, 2017 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

    The women who organize to pray at the West Wall should get together another group to take flights in Israel for the sole purpose of not moving from their seats under these circumstances. It sounds like it wouldn’t take long to hit pay dirt. If activists willing to deal with the situation do this a few times, forcing the airlines to stand up for women’s rights and kick disruptive passengers who refuse to take their seats off the planes, then I’m thinking this would stop.

  9. Claudia Baker
    Posted February 16, 2017 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

    Egotistical jerks. I pity their wives and daughters.

  10. bluemaas
    Posted February 16, 2017 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

    Mama called the doctor and the doctor said:

    “Ask ’em — dos diez dudes — cuz they know,”
    don’t they, that: only the (de)Humans
    have these: http://weknowmemes.com/2012/05/the-doctor-said-its-cooties

    And even wee babes, as well, know this.

    Blue

  11. Zia
    Posted February 16, 2017 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

    I wonder what the reaction would have been if the men were Muslim. To be honest, I think other passengers should have spoken out once they realized that the flight attendants had lost control.

    • Posted February 16, 2017 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

      Has there been similar scandalous behavior by Muslim men? I haven’t heard of any.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted February 16, 2017 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

        I don’t think (and I stand to be corrected here) there’s anything in Muslim theology that would require this. It demands that women ‘dress modestly’ but – so far as I know, which is admittedly very little – it doesn’t put any onus on men to avoid contact with them, modestly dressed or otherwise.

        cr

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted February 17, 2017 at 6:26 am | Permalink

          I’ve just noticed that – according to the Rabbinical Council of America – Jewish law doesn’t require this behaviour either. (See Gabrielle’s comment near the end of the thread).

          But every religion has its wackos.

          cr

  12. veroxitatis
    Posted February 16, 2017 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

    EasyJet are not usually so accommodating of passengers. Nor are British Police.

    • Posted February 16, 2017 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

      I am guessing EasyJet is more accommodating on flights in and out of Israel.

  13. Randy schenck
    Posted February 16, 2017 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

    I think this is where – freedom from religion comes into play. Just as the religious cretins in this country don’t seem to get it. They want to push their religion on the public in general but never some other religion on them. Also know as hypocrisy. Also, know as mixing religion and state.

    This is the only place that Trump needs to firm up the wall. Fat chance.

  14. Posted February 16, 2017 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

    The plane has systems exposed just through a USB port and nothing else???

    (I share the appalled reaction to the rest of the story, needless to say.)

    • ploubere
      Posted February 16, 2017 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

      Good point.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted February 17, 2017 at 6:29 am | Permalink

      Apparently it just lit up the ‘EXIT’ light – which, being unexpected, caused the crew some consternation. There’s no suggestion it could have interfered with any critical systems.

      cr

      • Wunold
        Posted February 17, 2017 at 9:18 am | Permalink

        It still doesn’t make any sense why plugging a phone to an usb port should light up the exit signs. A system that has such a strange behaviour could have any number of other glitches.

        • Posted February 17, 2017 at 11:38 am | Permalink

          Correct – it should do nothing except, perhaps alert someone in charge than an unauthorized device is attached.

  15. BJ
    Posted February 16, 2017 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

    I hate that this is often what people see about Jews in the news. I’ve known and been related to Jews my whole life and never met people like this, but for someone who lives in a relatively isolated place with no Jewish people around, they see stories like this.

    It just makes me sad.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted February 16, 2017 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

      A shanda.

  16. veroxitatis
    Posted February 16, 2017 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

    I note that the Daily Fail (as is normal) gives a somewhat misleading account which infers that the police were called whilst the plane was airborne on account of the behaviour of certain passengers in refusing to take seats beside women. It is noted that there was further disruption during the flight but these episodes (frequent calling of stewards) were hardly matters for the police.
    Trust DM to make a bad situation worse. And had the disruptive passengers been Muslims no doubt half the paper would have been devoted to the incident.

    • chris moffatt
      Posted February 16, 2017 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

      Disruptions or crimes are matters for the police where the pilot puts the airplane down. In this case the UK.

      “…had the disruptive passengers been Muslims no doubt half the paper would have been devoted to the incident.” I forget which logical fallacy this is and TBH I can’t be arsed to look it up. It is totally irrelevant what muslims or christians or hindus or shintoists or sufis or taoists or atheists who weren’t there might or might not have done

      • chris moffatt
        Posted February 16, 2017 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

        Should have said “In flight disruptions…..”.

  17. Diana MacPherson
    Posted February 16, 2017 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

    What worries me the most is many people would blame a woman, who refused to move seats if the plane were delayed, instead of the men causing the ruckus in the first place. They should have been removed in Tel Aviv and the pilot should have made sure that the troublemakers could not fly on that airline again.

    • dallos
      Posted February 17, 2017 at 2:44 am | Permalink

      But why should the woman move?
      Why not the man who doesn’t want to sit next to her?

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted February 17, 2017 at 7:55 am | Permalink

        Well exactly. I still remember how I was made to feel when I was asked to leave a parking lot (I was sitting in my car in the parking lot of a donut shop waiting for my friends. As a young woman, I was shy about going into places alone as I got a lot of street harassment and I felt unsafe). A security guard came up to my car and told me I had to leave because males tended to come around and cause problems when there were females around. I went home and at least my dad called the shop and let them have it about the security guard.

  18. jimroberts
    Posted February 16, 2017 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

    Has the alternative solution ever been offered, that some men with seats next to men should move to sit next to the women, so that the pure could take their unsullied places? How many men would accept this imposition? How many would even welcome it?

    • Ken Phelps
      Posted February 16, 2017 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

      Not me. If this happened near me on a plane, I’d end up getting thrown off for shouting obscenities in someone’s face. But I think that’s the best way to deal with it. A few incidents of mass, vocal rebellion by normal passengers and this idiotic shit would end.

    • jeremy pereira
      Posted February 16, 2017 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

      If I had a middle seat and the ultra orthodox Jewish man had a window or aisle seat, I would certainly offer to swap.

      • chris moffatt
        Posted February 16, 2017 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

        but then he wouldn’t be seated next to a woman ITFP.

        • jeremy pereira
          Posted February 18, 2017 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

          But I would be in a better seat and he would be in a worse seat.

      • chris moffatt
        Posted February 16, 2017 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

        or is there something you want to tell us?

        • jeremy pereira
          Posted February 17, 2017 at 3:10 am | Permalink

          Back in cattle class where I normally travel, middle seats are the worst. You have to sit there squashed between two strangers. With an aisle seat you have more space and with a window seat you have a window.

          Why wouldn’t I use somebody else’s religious hang ups to get a better seat for myself?

  19. Johh Gallagher
    Posted February 16, 2017 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

    Your description of their motives as “fear” and a response to “cooties” betrays your lack of understanding about Jewish law and what motivates them to behave in this way. Your criticism would be stronger if it recognized these men and their sexist behavior as a product of a particular culture.

    • Posted February 16, 2017 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

      Umm. . . no, I don’t think I misunderstand Jewish law. What motivates them to behave in this way is religion and its prudishness–pretty much the same thing that motivates sex separatism and unequal treatment of women under islam. Frankly, I don’t even care about the nuances of Jewish law that mandates this kind of sexism. It’s still sexism, and it’s the product not of a culture, but of a religion. You can equate Haredi culture and religion, if you want, but the sexism is still reprehebnsible and unacceptable.

      • Johh Gallagher
        Posted February 16, 2017 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

        If you’re satisfied having a one-dimensional view of what motivates their behavior (sexism), so be it. But your readers should know that there is more at play here and that by better understanding the culture & religion of these men, they can arrive at a deeper understanding of why these men behave the way they do. There are basic facts about Jewish law that you appear to be unaware of and uninterested in understanding, and those facts bear on the argument that these are sexist acts. If you had known, or cared to know, you’d have been able to write a more convincing argument about why these acts are sexist. (I will note that I too believe that this is sexist behavior, but the underlying cause is not prudishness, fear, cooties, or a lack of respect.)

        It’s disheartening to hear a scientist stand on the side of not wanting to understand why things happen.

        • Grania Spingies
          Posted February 16, 2017 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

          You’re unbelievable. It doesn’t matter what motivates their behavior. It’s still misogynistic in its action and consequences.

          Every racist and sexist in the world has motivations for their actions. They all have their justifications. Some of them might even be really nice people who love their children and are kind to kittens. Just because someone can reference history or religion or tradition for their action doesn’t make their behavior acceptable, and it sure as hell doesn’t mean that people in the 21st century have to pander to it.

          • Diana MacPherson
            Posted February 16, 2017 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

            +1

            • bluemaas
              Posted February 16, 2017 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

              Me, too, xbagazillion, Ms Grania / Ms Diana.

              Recently of late, I have had occasion to have stated ‘it’ a lotta: Men (some of ’em anyhow like this one — & noooo matter hoooow ‘egalitarian – sounding’ they want themselves to come off as … … ) cannot go through an entire day’s worth of hours without having their (de)Humans.

              About whom they can then explain away the whys and the wherefores (by way of: cultures, “laws” however unjust this may be, other excuses, etc) that: men just hafta have .upon. these (de)Humans.

              Again and yet again: … … Dr Rosalind Miles and Dr Mary Daly of http://www.amazon.com/Who-Cooked-Last-Supper-History/dp/0609806955 and http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=mary+daly+gyn+ecology .

              Then, too, there is thus:
              http://tinyurl.com/gtrr3tk

              How much $ ya’ wanna wager that: Neither of these books ‘re ever gonna be read, let alone purchased, by … … (any one of) such explaining – men ?

              Blue

          • Posted February 16, 2017 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

            + 2

          • Johh Gallagher
            Posted February 16, 2017 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

            I agree it’s misogynistic and unacceptable no matter what motivates their behavior. Even so, it’s better for us to understand what exactly motivates their behavior. Understanding gives us a better chance to effect change. Writing them off as hopeless means the actions will continue unabated.

            • Posted February 17, 2017 at 4:31 am | Permalink

              You keep saying the same thing over and over again, and now you’re done. Sometimes the best solution is simply to outlaw a behavior. Your argument, as I’ve said before, is ludicrous: it’s as if scientists, by explaining to the Haredi why they won’t sit next to women on planes, or dance with them or shake their hands and so on, will convince them to stop the behavior. You know that’s not true, for it’s a behavior motivated not by faith but by reason. The solution is simply to outlaw the behavior.

              Now you’ve had your say, so run along.

            • Filippo
              Posted February 17, 2017 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

              ” . . . it’s better for us to understand what exactly motivates their behavior.”

              Would you care to also say what if any obligation these noble gentlemen have to understand – and accommodate – the point of view of other passengers? Or do these gentlemen occupy a privileged position on account of their religion and their XY genotype/phenotype?

        • ploubere
          Posted February 16, 2017 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

          You can try to paint their motivations with a coat of culture all you want, but that won’t remove the foundation of misogyny that is its root cause. The culture and religion are just attempts at justifying it, and I agree with Jerry that it’s not that interesting.

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted February 16, 2017 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

          Jerry’s post does an excellent job at pointing out how sexism is accepted in society when it comes up against religious practices. He doesn’t need to go into the reason why these men are sexist to make his point.

          I fail to see how understanding all the religious nuances of how these men arrived at their sexism would change anyone’s perspective of the events that unfolded, namely that sexist men did sexist things and passengers acquiesced in order to make their sexist tantrums stop.

          • veroxitatis
            Posted February 16, 2017 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

            There is one fundamental reason for such behaviour: it is the same reason as applies ti certain Muslims. It is the imputing of fault to the one who is beheld rather than to the one who beholds.

        • Denise
          Posted February 16, 2017 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

          I’m Jewish and I understand why it happens, but I don’t care. The fact that these men don’t even thank the women who move to accommodate them or apologize to the people they’ve inconvenienced tells me all I need to know about their arrogance.

        • somer
          Posted February 16, 2017 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

          +1 and not only is it misogynistic – according to the accounts re the Easyjet case the Ultraorthodox did it in a way that created a Major public nuisance, violation of safety codes and potential danger to the aircraft (instability of people standing in the aisles for duration of the trip, rudeness and refusal to even ask politely, one of them charged a mobile phone in a forward control panel changing the seat safety warning, others in the wedding party Incessantly rang for service throughout). http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4227922/Orthodox-Jewish-men-cause-bedlam-easyJet-flight.html
          NO one has a right to do this. The right to accommodation of minority beliefs is not unlimited. Their expectations were unreasonable and broke safety laws/regulations for airlines observed but just about every country. If their political power as power balancers in Israel makes charging them politically impractical – in London the politicians should show to the police that they expect in cases like this offenders SHOULD have be charged and magistrates SHOULD impose penalties.

          The onus is on them not to ruin the flight of others, cause major safety hazard and public nuisance. They could have booked travelling together well in advance on a NON CHEAPO AIRLINE where they would be able to talk to staff to ensure travelling together, and, if necessary ensure seating next to the occasional male not of their party or pay for the occasional empty seat

          • dallos
            Posted February 17, 2017 at 3:03 am | Permalink

            You can’t understand this culture.
            There are no rules for how to behave on a plane
            with mobile phone, only for what to do if you meet a woman on a plane.

        • jeremy pereira
          Posted February 16, 2017 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

          I’m not Jewish. I don’t know much about Judaism except that like all religions, it is make believe.

          So come on, enlighten me. Tell me what the facts are so that I can have a better understanding.

          Fair warning though, I may understand them better but it won’t mean I’ll be more accepting of their behaviour.

        • madcapfeline
          Posted February 16, 2017 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

          I really need you to explain to me why a scientist not giving a crap about the religious motivation of this specific act of sexism is disheartening.

          Sexism is sexism, regardless of the motivation. Neither my understanding of the situation, nor my reaction to it changes when presented with the fact that it is religiously motivated.

          • Johh Gallagher
            Posted February 16, 2017 at 9:39 pm | Permalink

            Scientists typically want to understand why things happen and develop accurate causal models that allow for prediction and control. It’s disheartening to see a scientist reject an opportunity to better understand a situation and thereby attribute the observed behavior to the incorrect causes.

            • Posted February 17, 2017 at 4:27 am | Permalink

              I’m sorry you are disheartened by my failure to appreciate your arguments, though you haven’t made any (you just say there are “cultural causes” but don’t list any); I suggest you go elsewhere now that you’re disheartened by a scientist like me.. Do I really need to make causal models of why Muslims cut female genitalia, or stone people, or cut off hands, to “control” it or condemn it?

              Your arguments, I’m afraid, don’t hold water, for the solution is not to make “causal models” of why Jews won’t sit next to women on planes to control that behavior. How would you suggest doing that–by telling the ultra-orthodox WHY they are misogynists. Do you think that will stop them from doing so? That is a ludicrous proposition, and you know it. The way to control that behavior is to ban it on planes and decry it in the public forum. Your arguments amount to excusing that behavior.

              Now that you’ve dissed the host, a Rollz violation, I urge you to go express your views on other websites.

        • eric
          Posted February 16, 2017 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

          A flight attendant doesn’t need a “deeper level of understanding of why these men behave the way they do” to tell them to sit down and behave, or even why that is still the right thing to do. Agreed? And neither do we.

          If you look at my post below, you’ll see I’m actually a bit more charitable than JAC. That’s in part because I don’t really care what’s going on inside their heads, I care much more about actions. And the action of refusing to sit in your seat, when that is demanded by a flight attendant, on a plane, in today’s world, should be sufficient to get you kicked off the plane.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted February 16, 2017 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

      It’s the same deal with sexism for all “people of the book” — whether these Hasidim, or Muslim men insisting women be veiled, or Catholics denying women the priesthood.

      Scripture is chock-a-block with passages about women being unclean and seductresses responsible for the downfall of men. “Cooties” is as good a one-word label for it as any (and more irreverently funny than most).

      • Johh Gallagher
        Posted February 16, 2017 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

        Yes, though that description glosses over a crucial link in the causal chain that produces sexist behavior:

        sexist law –> earnest belief in the importance of following laws that were commanded by their god –> sexist behavior.

        If Jewish law said that men *must* sit next to women on planes, they’d have acted differently. Your 1-dimensional sexism model predicts they wouldn’t act any differently.

        • somer
          Posted February 16, 2017 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

          I think there is bucklies and none chance in any established religion, that any of its dictates will involve treating women with particular respect, particular with regard to anything that has a bearing on sexual control of the woman

          • somer
            Posted February 16, 2017 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

            *particularLY* not *particular* in “with respect to anything that has a hearing on sexual control ….

        • eric
          Posted February 16, 2017 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

          If it’s that earnest, buy two seats.

          Clearly their belief wasn’t earnest enough to justify them spending $800 to maintain it. So either it’s not that earnest, or they care less about the impact their beliefs will have on other passengers than their wallets.

      • chris moffatt
        Posted February 16, 2017 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

        You must remember that in a desert society 3K years ago personal hygiene was a lot more difficult. That’s why YHWH decreed that foreskins be amputated – all that smegma was causing the members of the members of the tribe to get cancerous and drop off.

    • chris moffatt
      Posted February 16, 2017 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

      This is not the product of culture. Culture changes. The culture of my native Quebec has changed immeasurably over just the last sixty years. This woman-hating stricture has been in place for 2.5K – 3.5K years That’s not culture – that’s religion. Pure ignorant, benighted, stupid, pre-ironage religion. What is amazing is that this nonsense has actually survived the cultural change in the 21st Century that even the Haredis have been subject to.

      BTW I have been with my lovely wife Virginia for 27 years and have never contracted girl-cooties in all that time. I have shared my life with Summer-the-stripey-cat for the past 9.5 years and never even contracted a single dose of fleas. Girls just aren’t that dangerous! (mostly)

  20. Tom
    Posted February 16, 2017 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

    I am puzzled, these men booked their seats and did not mention they wanted to sit together for religious reasons?
    Why weren’t they told at the beginning that this wasn’t possible or that special arrengements would be made?
    Did the airline booking in desk fail to notice that there may be a problem and make enquiries?
    Most of all why did ALL those involved wait until after boarding the flight?
    This is just a catalogue of errors and both airline and the ultras share equal blame

    • Jan
      Posted February 16, 2017 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

      I had the same thought/questions. If there were that many men traveling together it should have been easy to deal with before-hand.

    • Steve Pollard
      Posted February 16, 2017 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

      EasyJet makes the passenger do pretty well everything. You have to book online, download your own boarding card, and pay extra if you want to take hold baggage or reserve specific seats.

      This is all made clear(ish) when you book. EasyJet is a low-cost airline: what do you expect? Anyone, including Haredi travellers, should check the T&C when they book. EasyJet would have been perfectly entitled to refuse to accommodate these people’s demands, and throw them off without compensation. But, as Darwinwins suggests above, the fact that this flight originated in Tel Aviv may have had something to do with it.

      • chris moffatt
        Posted February 16, 2017 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

        It could only have been worse on RyanAir!

    • darrelle
      Posted February 16, 2017 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

      The OJs wanting to sit together wasn’t the problem. They refused to sit next to women. They could all have been seated together and that would not prevent the possibility of the OJs on the edge of the group from being next to women passengers.

      The only blame the airline has in this matter is for not having the the OJ men removed from the plane for refusing to sit in their assigned seats.

      Who do you mean by ALL? Surely you don’t mean any of the other passengers? As for the airline, why should they bear any responsibility for somehow divining that these misogynistic morons would refuse to take their seats because women? And when it became evident, there on the plane, why should the airline be expected to do anything to accommodate the OJs?

      • Steve Pollard
        Posted February 16, 2017 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

        To be clear (and to correct my error above), I don’t think you *can* reserve seats on EasyJet: all you can do is pay extra for priority boarding. This is all in the T&C: no one has an excuse for not being aware of them. Indeed, if you forget to download your boarding card in advance, or if your suitcase is an inch too big, EasyJet will charge you through the nose to do it at the airport. So the Haredis could have paid for priority boarding, got on together, and had a go at sitting together. Why didn’t they?

        • eric
          Posted February 16, 2017 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

          You can buy an extra seat. They clearly thought maintaining their beliefs in a way that respected the rights of others was not worth the cost.

    • somer
      Posted February 16, 2017 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

      They wanted cheap flights where u have to book online and they knew being sneaky up until the last moment was their best chance of getting their way – especially as the law does nothing about the safety and public nuisance and customer rights violations.

  21. Historian
    Posted February 16, 2017 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

    It would be the correct thing for the Israeli authorities to remove these disrupters before the plane takes off. Unfortunately, the ultra-orthodox play a significant role in the current Israeli government, so any action against them is not likely.

    • Ken Phelps
      Posted February 16, 2017 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

      But as with bullies and assholes everywhere, caving in causes bigger problems in the long run. That’s why they play a significant role in government in the first place.

      • Posted February 16, 2017 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

        Not really Ken. Unfortunately, the reality is that Israel is so divided politically, that ANY coalition government is forced to include some Ultra Orthodox. Otherwise, there can be no majority in the Knesset. Most Israelis, from what I understand, abhor these zealots who refuse to join the IDF and are a strain on the economy.

        • Posted February 16, 2017 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

          Why do the ultra-orthodox get a pass from military service that is compulsory for normal young people?

          • chris moffatt
            Posted February 16, 2017 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

            It was a deal made by Ben Gurion when there just weren’t very many of them. Now it’s a condition of them supporting any government. However they are now joining the IDF (although still not required)in much greater numbers to the point that it creates a problem because the IDF now has lots of zealots in its ranks who aren’t easy to control.

          • dallos
            Posted February 17, 2017 at 3:32 am | Permalink

            It’s so obvious.
            There are women in the army and can touch the ultra-orthodox men by accident.

  22. Kelly
    Posted February 16, 2017 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    I don’t think it’s the compliance of women that is difficult to understand. I think most rational pragmatic human beings would like to avoid escalating situations even if they are not just. Especially if the authorities are not being called right away. That’s what I really wonder about. Why wasn’t everybody demanding that the police be called. It’s simply unacceptable to have people making a scene, issuing demands and refusing to sit down.

  23. Pliny the in Between
    Posted February 16, 2017 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    There’s probably money to be made from this.

    http://farcornercafe.blogspot.com/2016/10/flighting-back.html

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted February 16, 2017 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

      Maybe you should start a line of merch, the way a lot of other sites do.

    • chris moffatt
      Posted February 16, 2017 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

      You know Venn will always have the solution, right?

      Oh, and FCB was asking very recently about interest in Venn’s T-shirts. If you are interested I recommend you do the needful!

  24. David Castor
    Posted February 16, 2017 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

    This could be stopped in one day by simply arresting a couple of these wackos for failing to comply with airline instructions. Imagine if it had been an Arab who was objecting.

  25. Posted February 16, 2017 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

    I’m assuming that at least some of the flight attendants were female, if not all. Did these
    ultra-orthodox Jews refuse their services? Is the problem only if a male is sitting next to a female cheek-to-cheek? My suggestion is that these men stay home, walk or swim; not use public transportation. They’re not entitled.
    They disrupt and inconvenience other human beings.

    • veroxitatis
      Posted February 16, 2017 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

      Did Jahweh give them a special exemption to allow travel down the birth canal with all that horrendous proximity and touching of the female form I should have thought that Dog In His wisdom would have arranged for test tube development for his devotees from way back (at least from 4004 BC.)

      • bluemaas
        Posted February 16, 2017 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

        O, m’golly, veroxitatis, .that. is just hilarious. To me, a former labor and delivery doula !

        “a special exemption to allow [such] travel … … !” funny,funny !

        In m’view, yours .takes. this thread !

        : ) Blue

  26. eric
    Posted February 16, 2017 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

    Every company, including EasyJet, should have this policy: anybody refusing to sit next to a woman should just be removed from the plane, period. No woman should even be asked to move.

    My policy would be a bit more lenient and cooperative, but not much:

    (1) On request, the flight staff will ask over the intercom if anyone wishes to switch with you.

    (2) If someone volunteers within a minute or two, problem solved.

    (3) If not, sit down in your seat or leave the plane.

    I prefer this because I’ve seen step 1 done for lots of people for nonreligious reasons, so I’m okay with being offered for religious ones (or no reason given at all, frankly). However, if 1-2 minutes should be all the time given, and if nobody agrees, tough luck. At that point sit next to the baby, or the cougher, or the woman, or whatever and deal – or get off the plane.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted February 16, 2017 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

      The he airline should compensate compensate anyone who is inconvenienced by these people, male or female and that includes witnessing their bad behaviour. If the airline would rather avoid compensating everyone, they should remove these people from the plane to avoid having to do so.

      • eric
        Posted February 16, 2017 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

        If it’s just a request, the switch is voluntary, and it doesn’t slow down takeoff, I don’t think the airline need provide any compensation.

        However, it would sure be nice and socially appropriate of the person requesting the switch, to buy the person who helps them a beer or glass of wine or the steak dinner or something. It could even grease the wheels. “Attention passengers: we are looking for someone to switch to seat 8B. If you do so, you’ll get a free minibottle of champagne…”

        • Doug
          Posted February 16, 2017 at 11:45 pm | Permalink

          ” . . .or a ham sandwich.’

          • HaggisForBrains
            Posted February 17, 2017 at 8:30 am | Permalink

            😀

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted February 17, 2017 at 7:47 am | Permalink

          Sure but it did slow things down and it inconvenienced other passengers who couldn’t even move in the aisles.

          • eric
            Posted February 17, 2017 at 9:34 am | Permalink

            Yeah, because there were a bunch of them and they delayed the flight for 15 minutes. I fully agree that that’s an unacceptable level of disruption. I’m just not fully on board (heh) with the ‘zero tolerance’ idea because I have seen, and received, and given, some tolerance in other seat-switching situations.

  27. Ullrich Fischer
    Posted February 16, 2017 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

    If you can’t behave like a civilized person on a plane, you should be encouraged to use camels to travel the way your God evidently wants it instead. There is no justification for allowing these ignorant assholes to enforce their religious prejudices on the rest of us.

  28. Bob Read
    Posted February 16, 2017 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

    They’re just as bad as the extreme Muslims. What an unbelievable bunch of ninnies. The world is way too small for this kind of behaviour anymore. Please go back to the tenth century (or earlier) where yuou belong

  29. Posted February 16, 2017 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

    If you want to live according to Bronze Age values don’t fly.

  30. zoolady
    Posted February 16, 2017 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

    Fine! They can sit on the wings.

  31. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted February 16, 2017 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

    What did these idiots *think* was going to happen when they booked their flight? That there were by chance going to be no women next to any of them? What a pack of morons!

    Or were they banking on being able to make a fuss and get other passengers to shift? Either way they should not have been allowed to get away with it. They should have been thrown off the plane in Tel Aviv.

    (I see a business opportunity. Kosher Airlines. All seats sold / selected online in advance. All passengers state gender, religious affiliation, and ethnicity at the time of seat selection, also any ‘unacceptable’ categories they don’t want to be next to, and it will be shown on the seating selection diagram so that subsequent pax can avoid infringing. All seats once assigned cannot be changed at time of flight, sit down or get thrown off.)

    cr

    • chris moffatt
      Posted February 16, 2017 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

      “…Or were they banking on being able to make a fuss and get other passengers to shift?” Yes.

      • nicky
        Posted February 16, 2017 at 9:43 pm | Permalink

        Maybe that was even part of their motivation: make a fuss and throw their religious weight around.

    • eric
      Posted February 17, 2017 at 9:39 am | Permalink

      I can just see it now; I buy my ticket through Expedia, get taken to the screen where I get the top-down view of the fuselage with all the little seats, and there are rows and rows of tiny penises and vaginas.

  32. Gordon
    Posted February 16, 2017 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

    If I can be a bit legalistic (OK it’s my job) Easyjet or whoever potentially face a problem in many jurisdictions where the law requires “reasonable accommodation” to be made for religious belief. Given the odd decision I have seen on this it is likely that a court/tribunal would see moving women as necessary for complying with a “reasonable accommodation” requirement, especially given as most ticket conditions would allow the operator to change seating allocations. In principle I think even the refusal to move could constitute discrimination by the passenger through refusing to reasonably accommodate the religious beliefs of the nutters.

    • chris moffatt
      Posted February 16, 2017 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

      Then I’d be guilty of discrimination!! Bring it on! I think the law requires me not to impede someone else’s religion observance as long as it is not breaking any laws but doesn’t require me to put myself out to observe it. Trust me if I had an aisle seat I wouldn’t give it for the Chief Rabbi, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem or The F***ing pope.

      • Gordon
        Posted February 16, 2017 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

        Unfortunately it does require you to put yourself out – the cases I am familiar with are NZ employment cases but I suspect the interpretation would be similar elsewhere. They are to the effect that X finds god so wants Saturday off. Other employees are expected to accommodate that by giving up their own weekends, miss their kids sport etc. A refusal to accommodate is unlawful (these cases were taken against the employer who was expected to shaft his other staff to accommodate X)

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted February 17, 2017 at 6:14 am | Permalink

          If I was the ‘other staff’ I would counter-sue on the grounds that asking me to undertake more than my share of weekend work is discriminating against me for religious reasons – the fact that I don’t share the other guy’s religion. And that ‘reasonable accommodation’ ceases to be ‘reasonable’ when it inconveniences others.

          I suspect the only reason the prick got away with it was that the other staff were too damn tolerant.

          cr

          • Diana MacPherson
            Posted February 17, 2017 at 8:07 am | Permalink

            I’d say that my religion was Satanist and get the Satanic Temple to show up to the court. It would be epic!

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted February 17, 2017 at 7:46 am | Permalink

          Yes but now you are dealing with religious rights vs. Human rights. So you could counter that the airline would be put in a position of discriminating against women on the basis of sex and religious freedom is limited when it infringes on someone else’s rights and freedoms.

    • dallos
      Posted February 17, 2017 at 3:42 am | Permalink

      This is not “reasonably”.

    • eric
      Posted February 17, 2017 at 9:43 am | Permalink

      Reasonable accommodation doesn’t mean infinite accommodation; if you can’t accommodate their request, the person needs to sit in their assigned seat or leave the plane, not delay it for 15 minutes like these guys did.

      And going into the flight attendant area to charge your phone should be immediately stopped and penalized. That’s a safety and security risk to them, as well as potentially to the other passengers. There is no way such conduct can be justified under a ‘reasonable accommodation’ rule.

  33. Gabrielle
    Posted February 16, 2017 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

    On the left sidebar of the Jewish Chronicle article linked above, there is a note that the Rabbinical Council of America (the organization of Orthodox Rabbis in the US) has declared that it is permissible for unrelated men and women to sit next to each other on an airplane, and that there is nothing in Jewish law that forbids this. The original notice on the Council website does state that the practice of asking women to move is considered derogatory towards women.
    Just to add, this ruling would not be heeded by the Ultra-Orthodox Jews in Israel, unfortunately.

    All this aside, I believe the men on the plane causing the disturbance and delaying the flight should have been removed from the plane.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted February 17, 2017 at 6:23 am | Permalink

      To be fair, that is worth quoting in full:

      The umbrella body for central Orthodox rabbis in the United States passed a resolution only last month explaining that on a plane, Jews are “permitted to sit next to a member of the opposite sex who is not a relative even when this unintentionally causes physical contact”.

      The Rabbinical Council of America advised people who did not want sit next to members of the opposite sex to buy extra seats around them. But “one should avoid asking a person in an adjacent seat in a public venue to move because that person is a member of the opposite sex”, the RCA stated.

      If asked to move in such circumstances, you may “politely and firmly refuse, thereby reinforcing the proper behavioural norm between the sexes in such venues”.

      But if such a request is made “unobtrusively and courteously”, you can agree to it at your own discretion.

      (ends)

      cr

  34. Christopher Bonds
    Posted February 16, 2017 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

    They should immediately have removed those bozos from the plane. If they don’t sit down so the plane can take off, can’t they be arrested and charged with obstruction?

  35. Louise Maxwell
    Posted February 17, 2017 at 3:03 am | Permalink

    Move the women to first class – tadaaa.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted February 17, 2017 at 7:58 am | Permalink

      Probably with this budget airline there is no first class but that would be great if the flight attendants announced that due to the sexism of some male passengers, all women have been moved up to first class as compensation for having to travel in the presence of these anachronisms.

    • eric
      Posted February 17, 2017 at 9:48 am | Permalink

      A similar option has been suggested before; these orthodox men should buy first class tickets. They’d have at most one person next to them, and if they still needed to switch, it would be incredibly easy for them to find a volunteer from coach.

  36. Posted February 17, 2017 at 5:26 am | Permalink

    If they had been Muslin they would have been removed in tel-aviv and the whole world wiuld be talking about it. Religous grounds is rubbish they eanted to stick together as no religous grounds for plugging a phone into a usb socket on the control panel. If anyone else started plugging things into staffs control panels it would be seen as attempted terrorism.

  37. CARL WONG
    Posted February 17, 2017 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    I would say that my religion forbids me from moving from my seat to accommodate the religious beliefs of another person. I would also say that my religion requires that I scream at the top of my lungs for 10 minutes if I am on a plane and a woman moves from her seat to accommodate the religious beliefs of another person.


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