An Israeli judge has ruled that flight attendants cannot ask female passengers to move at the request of ultra-Orthodox Jewish men according to NPR. It’s been going on for years, but one Holocaust survivor in her 80s finally filed a lawsuit after she was asked to move on a Newark (EWR) to Tel Aviv (TLV) El Al flight in 2015. The ultra-Orthodox Jewish men commonly tell flight attendants that they are not comfortable sitting next to females and the requests have caused numerous delays on El Al, United, and Delta flights over the years. The men perceive any contact between the sexes as immodest and often refuse to even sit down.
The court ruling requires El Al to instruct its staff in writing that such requests are illegal and train workers in the new rule within six months. The court awarded Rabinowitz 6,500 shekels, or about $1,800, in damages.
According to the article, numerous organizations have asked El Al to include a special seating requirement as part of the booking requirement, similar to a kosher meal request, but the airline has refused.
“Our problem is with pressuring women,” says Beck. “It’s not fun to be told a flight will be delayed or sent back to the gate if you don’t accommodate a man’s request.”