After Lawsuit Is Filed, El Al CEO Admits There Was No Physical Violence On Flight #002

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Please read these posts first:

I posited previously that El Al’s claim of Charedi violence aboard flight #002 seemed like it was invented to shift the narrative away from how their pilot lied to passengers about returning to the terminal in order to get them to sit down. Minutes afterward he requested permission for immediate departure, which led to the flight being diverted to Athens.

El Al claimed that “a group of haredim” requested to get off the plane and “exercised heavy and violent pressure against the cabin crew” in seeking to disembark, and alleged that this caused further delays in taking off.

That created international headlines about the flight diverting due to religious violence about the Sabbath, which was a completely false narrative.

Israel Hayom is reporting that El Al’s CEO Gonen Usishkin has admitted that there was no Charedi violence aboard the flight.

The about-face comes after Israeli media doctored videos of the incident in order to make it look like there was Charedi violence.

It also comes after passengers from flight #002 filed suit against El Al for $2.5MM along with the demand that El Al publicly acknowledge that there was no passenger violence on the flight.

The CEO has ordered a special investigation committee to look into what went wrong with the decision making process aboard flight #002. That committee will process witness accounts and make recommendations for the future.

It’s certainly not a great moment in the history of the airline as it fanned already high tensions between the religious and non-religious factions in Israel, but it’s a positive development that they have started to come clean.

HT: Hocker & Chaikel.

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79 Comments On "After Lawsuit Is Filed, El Al CEO Admits There Was No Physical Violence On Flight #002"

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Dan, keep up the good work! It’s time we are unapologetically Jewish and unapologetically Orthodox!


@Nate: It’s time that Israel allowed freedom of religion and recognized Reform and Conservative Judaism as valid theologically and in practice.


You can practice what you want in Israel. Why are you trying to impose your way onto others (like you allege Israel is trying to do)?


Israel can allow freedom of religion, and even recognize reform and conservative as a form of some religion. However it cannot recognize reform and conservative as valid theologically. Simply put they are not.


Please dump your stupidity in your nearest trash.


Does the Conservative movement allow flying in shabbos? I don’t think so. This is about Shomer Shabbos people with convictions.


Picking and choosing what u like from Judaism and the Torah is not authentic Judaism. U will always remain a Jew but a non practicing one.


ill still fly them i like my jewish airline


You won’t fly with the friendly Turks?


Its not jewish, its natzis


Dont know how to spell Nazis? I’m afraid you’re not completely aware of the nazis actions if you are comparing an airline to pure evil regime.

Joe Barnathan

New Nazis are anti-zionist terrorist legitimizing leftist?


Illinois Natzis… I hate Illinois Natzis.


elal is gone by me

shlomy reich

whats jewish about it??


They should be sued for inflammatory lies against religious Jews.
It’s absurd that a so called Jewish airline created a libelous story to defame and hurt people that believe in a different version of Judaism that they do.
The so called Jewish state did and does nothing to stop the anti semitism from within.


not to take anything away from people who observe the shabat, but THERE ARE NON JEWISH / OR RELIGIOUS people that take ELAL flights. the airline cant cater to a few people, and inconvenience alot of other people.
what would your opinion have been if a bunch of budist got up and said turn the plain around, we want to get off.

El Al is simply necessary

It’s also time we forgive and reflect why


I suggest that whoever cares should tweet @EL_AL_ISRAEL to recommend that they appoint @dansdeals to the investigative committee. It will be good for them and good for the public.

deals dealer

Interesting that it wasn’t mentioned that is not the first time that ELAL is blaming Haredim instead of taking responsibility for their problems. Not to long ago was it all in the news that a flight was delayed 75 minutes because Haredi men refused to sit next to women, passengers on that flight are saying that the whole Haredim story took 5-10 minutes while Elal had technical problems, but why tell everyone that the old planes they’re using have technical problems when you could blame Haredim.


dan why do u say this is “but it’s a positive development that they have started to come clean.” they are doing it just to try to get us back to use them its PR.
they should pay for it dearly thats the only way they understand like yrs ago the assured from using them so to now part of the lawsuit should be…

Go till the end and bring them down to their knees for dealing with the chareidim all these yrs like this and dont let them get away with it they are a bunch of LIARS nothing more making up stories about chareidim etc. dont settle with them AND make them promise they will start treating us like humans not like cattle we have more to say but for now its enough i wouldnt touch elal for a 100 ft pole


How ’bout if I give you a 200 ft pole..?


U.S. Department of Transportation regulations on tarmac delays went into effect in late April 2010. So how do the new rules protect air passengers? Here are some highlights:

Airlines must return planes to the gate and let passengers off any time a flight is sitting on the tarmac for three hours.
Airlines must provide passengers with adequate food and water within the first two hours of any tarmac delay.
Adequate toilet facilities must be maintained and made available to passengers during the delay.
Airlines must designate one employee to monitor flight delays and cancellations, respond to passenger complaints, and instruct passengers on the complaint filing process.
Airlines must post and maintain updated flight delay data on their websites — including information on flights that are frequently delayed — for each domestic flight they operate.


Three hours is only for domestic flights. international gets four.


I get the part about the crew arriving late, the pilot lying and the airline defaming religious Jews. What I don’t understand is, that once the passengers were on the plane, was El Al required to let them disembark once it was realized that they would not arrive in TLV in time for shabbos? Or was El Al within their rights to say, “we are going to take off now and land in ATH before shabbos?”


I think part of the problem is they did not say this knowing full well it was it would be . As others suggested that may be tantamount to kidnapping.

If they had told people they would land in Athens and Shabbos arrangements were made for them, some people may have not been so hysterical.


The bigger issue that I have here is that EL AL has lost the confidence of its customers and potential customers to believe anything they say or do. There is only so many times you can cry wolf.


Dan, it’s really uncanny how your predictions and presumtions are proven true and accurate time and time again. Truly amazing! We actually get to watch how your improvement ideas slowly materialize years after you wrote it! That’s part of the reason why we love your “Told you so” posts (even though you do sometimes cover yourself with lengthy possible outcome lists).

Thank you for all the great advice and educational experience.

On an opposite and lighter note, would you please entertain us by sharing any memorable times your prophecies were just way off the mark for good or worse?


Finely we realize how the Israeli government treats the religious jews.

Joe Barnathan

Hmm let’s see they got to their destination without additional costs. Goim got to their destination hours late due to inclement weather instead of days late.

If I was on that flight I would have paid for the room in Athens . It’s my fault for flying on a snowy Thursday .


What went wrong?
458 passengers from all over the tri-state area came on time to the airport.
Who was missing?
The crew!


This whole story is so upsetting. With all the work we put in to create unity amongst our brothers. I have flown Elal so many times without any issues but this just makes me feel like there is a true hatred for charedeim on our ‘jewish’ airline. Just look at the comments on the Israeli websites. What a chilul Hashem. I could never fly with them now.


Special investigate committee?
A joke!
ElAl gonna investigate themselves.
Only a lawsuit will straighten things

ari k

its disgusting theirs no customer service, as if theyre doing you a favor by letting you fly with them they get away with everything with 0 compensation for the grief,delays,broken aircraft etc that weve been putting up with for so long
the only language they understand is if it hurts their pocket
its time for another airline to join the nyc>tlv market


A lawsuit will work.
They once embarrassed me in public for switching seats with a relative, I had my lawyer write them a letter, and I got $400!

Enough Already

They are far from shomer Shabbos despite their claim. The fact that the planes fly or are serviced on Shabbos proves the point. Anytime one of their planes is the air on Shabbos, it’s a major bleep you to torah u’Mitzvos and Shabbos Kodesh.


ELAL is turning into just another Tower Air. Remember them? They also treated their paying costumers like 2nd rate dog manure. From breakdowns to delays. From engines falling into the Atlantic Ocean in mid flight to stuffed toilets with smelly water flowing down the aisles. From making costumers wait outside in 90+ degree temperature on line to missing kosher meals. Israelis think they know better than everyone else. Well, the paying costumers finally had enough and put them out of business. Hopefully ElAl will go bankrupt. How long must the paying costumers allow themselves to be screwed?


meanwhile we need the tlv to nyc route so lets hope they get better

Mrs. Tzipi

I’d love to see all the blackhats dump El Al and try United or any other airline that is not traveled primarily by Jews. This would make the flights so much more enjoyable for the rest of us. If the Charedim tried on, say United, Lufthansa, or GAL [name your favorite Giyishe Air Line] the kinds of shtick they try on El Al (to say nothing of the fact that every frum Yid with a bekisheh flying on El Al thinks and acts like he’s Moishe Grois the baal habayis), they would summarily be read the Riot Act and firmly dealt with like the PITA’s they so often are.

Ahavas yisroel

Tzipi, you sound like a hater


U are wrong. While some charedim act “badly” on elal, the same ones act just as bad on all the other airlines (of course this is not limited to charedim… black people also act this way…. oh wait, that would be racist… we can only say these things about black HATTED people) and the other airlines mostly treat them far far better than elal…


take a chill why are you so anti
sounds like you dont realize how
much good the religious do
good luck


The passenger who falsely posted on social media that charedim were violent is named Roni Meital.

Check out his other absurd troublemaking activities from his 2015 United ewr-tlv flight here

Amazing this guy was given credibility by the Israeli media.

Another take

I also noticed the seeming coincidence that SHE’s been quoted before about a bad experience on a flight on the same route. But I found some irony in HER earlier quote being a complaint about not being allowed to disembark from a delayed plane sitting on the tarmac. There’s even more irony in its being in a story about passengers suing an airline for its handling of a delay. The topper, though, is that that story also includes passenger cell phone footage contradicting an airline’s claim.

That said, it’s not particularly surprising that someone regularly commuting between her company’s offices in two cities would:
1) encounter more than one flight delay in a span of a few years
2) be somewhat used to flying, and less thrown off by the experience than other passengers, making her more likely to be available to be quoted in the media
3) have developed strong opinions on the typical experience of that flight, in all its facets

It’s also not entirely unheard of for people’s previously-formed opinions to affect their perception/recollection of events around them. One of the ways this happens is called “confirmation bias” – – and probably affected, to greater or lesser degrees, the impressions of everyone on that flight. Or maybe I’m more inclined to think that would have happened because I believe there’s such a thing as confirmation bias 😉

Maybe this is a coincidence, but it’s also interesting that the United flight a few years ago was on a Friday, while this one was on a Thursday. Maybe she was also trying to make it home for some of the more “zachor”-like aspects (such as spending time with family) of, even in the absence of some of (presumably most people don’t perform all 39 melachot during a typical entire week) the “shamor” aspects of, Shabbat.

Moshe Eshel

Where was the suit filed? do we have the filing? or is this like ElAl promised to file a police complaint and never followed through?
All in all – PR fights are bad for anyone, and it’s obvious that ElAl was using one of those crisis management advisors to “handle” this debacle – “blame the hareidim” he said, “everyone hates them anyway”, and it worked, they passed the critical news cycle, now the only newspapers reporting on this are far-right english newspapers which nobody in Israel reads, and Israel Hayom which is considered biased (the main reporter is Yehuda Schlezinger who has been blamed as reporting one-sidedly on same issue) – no other Israeli paper i’ve seen even reported on the Lawsuit, and the “retraction” by ElAl CEO (an unrecorded private conversation which he didn’t acknowledge ever happened, much less what was said).
He is quoted saying that ElAl never blamed “hareidim” which is obviously false.

I want to cry, שנאת חינם , בצע כסף – anyone recall what happened to us once upon a time because such things?


To be fair, El Al is not the only airline that hates Charedim. I usually fly Delta (TLV-JFK/JFK-TLV) and there is one secular Israeli woman who seems to be a flight attendant on each Delta JFK-TLV flight who is very anti-religious. I opened the window slightly to check if it was almost sunrise (I had my tallis and tefillin on), and she embarrassed me in front of everyone telling me that opening the window shade was against the law. I asked which law. She said, it’s against FAA regulations. I asked which regulations. She said it’s against Delta Policy. I told her I’m Platinum with Delta and certainly don’t want to break Delta policy, and asked which policy. She still couldn’t figure out what I was doing wrong other than praying–the greatest offense to people like her. She called the pilot and claimed I was a security threat. A secular Israeli, who heard nothing of the conversation and only saw a flight attendant pulling me aside and calling the pilot, stood up and yelled at me that I made our entire people look bad. Then, another secular Israeli flight attendant (male) told me that all the Delta flight attendants joke about Tel Aviv being heaven, but in order to get to heaven in TLV you have to first go through hell by dealing with the Jewish/religious passengers. He thought that was funny. Real nice.
This is super disappointing about El Al, but I don’t think it reflects on their company (which I don’t particularly care for). I think it reflects on Israeli society, which has been nursing and spewing anti-religious HATRED since the founding of this corrupt state. As much as I love Israel, there are a lot of backwards people trying to manipulate things and this flight and all the various reactions was just a predictable result of decades of discrimination and hatred towards Haredim and religious Jews.
Side note – the last time I recall being on an El Al flight was when I found a wedding ring in the airplane bathroom and brought it to a flight attendant asking to announce on the microphone that someone lost it. The flight attendant refused to make any announcement, despite me asking numerous times. After the flight I spoke to a manager who said an announcement should have been made and that they will make it soon (after everyone already deplaned)–really helpful.
I sense another boycott of El Al coming.
Really we should be boycotting the sinas chinam that Israeli society has been promoting for decades. No lawsuit can fix that. Only ahavas Yisroel.


Well said!! Unfortunately..
Israel as a state allows and promotes discrimination like a in a third world country! I think it’s time to create a word defining the act of being anti Hareidim, they just escape being accused for anti-antisemitism given they’re Jews themselves, but in reality both hates must be condemned equally!


@Eli – that’s correct. This is nothing new. If you take a look at the past and present promotion of antisemitism, anti-Semitic rhetoric, anti-Semitic policy, and anti-semitic discrimination, it is EXACTLY what the State of Israel and secular Israelis have been doing against religious Jews, particularly against Haredim. Zionist commies kidnapping Yemenite children was just one small, twisted part of a very, very dark history in the “zionist” state. Every time I meet these anti-semitic (anti-religious) Israelis, I speak with them and show them that religious people are people too, and they always say “well you’re different because you’re from America. Israeli Haredim are exactly as we describe…”
I love Israel and in public I fully support Israel…but internally I recognize there is a lot of really messed up drama caused by anti-religious haters and anti-religious policies…to the extent that in the early years of the State, tens or even hundreds of thousands of non-Jewish Russians were brought here to counter-balance the religious Jewish population and allow the “zionist” communists to control and dominate. A bunch of eruv rav and poor tenokey sh’nishb’a.

Ahmad Ali

Thanks Dan. You’re doing a great deed by standing up for your religion! Religion is the essence of ones life. I know lots of Orthodox Jewish people and they are wonderful to work with and I didn’t believe this Elals false story for a second. I don’t know any Reform or Conservative Jews but I did hear that there’s not too many around because they mostly intermarried with nonjews so that’s probably why it makes sense for the airline to only consider the needs of Orthodox. Also, it’s my understanding that only Orthodox Jews follow the Bible.


You’re getting it 100%!!
Unfortunately not too many people in this world are blessed with such a good understanding!


This shimon sheves was prime minister Rabin manager is testifying what he saw as hitting, shouting, cursing etc
He wasn’t on this flight!
He was on the other flight that flew on shabbos due to medical emergency
What a shame.


I don’t think you are correct. I have read through all of his facebook posts and it is clear beyond doubt that he was on the same flight as Yehuda Schlezinger of Yisrael Hayom. That was the flight diverted to Athens.


Man I just hope elal has there usual cyber Monday sales

Joe Barnathan

Here’s my take of what Ive read, Thursday early afternoon snow was coming down heavy. To think the the plane would depart on time is stupid. The plane waited on the tamarac for quite some time and I’m not so sure the plane could easily go back to the gate. Goim are paying tourist too so turning around and having them loose 2 days of their vacation is really bad. The captain lied and the goim got to thier destination hours late. Orthodox Jews like myself got a different Shabbat than they are accustomed to because they should have not went to the airport on a Thursday that’s snowing.

I read the captain or crew blamed the shabbat situation on “haredim’ that’s just evil. All Jews have a responsibility to keep Shabbat and besides the captain couldn’t fly into Israel even if there were no orthodox Jews on the plane because it’s against Israeli law.


As Dan clarified earlier, this flight would have had to divert in any case as El AL is not allowed to fly into Israel on Shabbos. Period. No matter if there are religious passengers on board or not. The pilot had to have known this before takeoff. It was impossible for them to land in Israel before sundown by the time they were ready to take off. It’s the lying and blaming that is so infuriating. Was this an airline decision to have the plane closer to home for after Shabbos? Or the pilot’s decision to just take off for whatever reason after promising to allow those who wanted to disembark?

Joe Barnathan

Just to clarify I wasn’t on the plane

Gerry Engelhart , Cleveland Ohio

Here is how United handled the situation on Thursday night. I was on Flight #84 that was cancelled at 10:45. We boarded around 4 o’clock as the plane was slightly delayed. We left the gate and had major viability issues and needed help getting to the runways. We taxied for 4 hours before the pilots timed out and had to return to the gate. The plane was emptied and anyone who wanted to pull off the flight was allowed to and gave the boarding pass to the gate agent, who then had their baggage pulled from the flight. They could not get their act together and get another crew, and at 10:45 the rest of us Shomer Shabbat people told the gate agent that we could no longer fly. She called operations in Chicago and told them that “she was surrounded by people who would no longer fly because of the Sabbath”. Ground operations then cancelled the flight, understanding that the plane would fly 75% empty and removing the baggage would be a nightmare (note: at this point they still did not have a flight crew and traffic was a mess outside. It was impossible to get a cab or UBER until the next morning… I stayed overnight in the airport). United’s communication was not very good, but they did not lie or try to deceive the passengers. IT was pandemonium inside and out. The city was paralized! the gate agents were told, upfront, by an number of people, that they if they were not in the air by 11:00 they would lose most of their passengers. Everyone was nice, respectful and certainly non confrontational. (I am sure they had their hands full and had a very difficult day, as did we all)
The issue with ELAL is not about the religious observance of unreasonable passengers. The crew lied to the passengers, fully knowing the significance of the matters at hand. While I personally have issues with how the State treats less observant Jews, the fact is, we are a Jewish State and honoring the Shabbat (however you chose to do so) is a core value of our country, and respecting all Jews is critical to our survival as a nation and a people. The pilot clearly and with intent, violated that value. He knew what he was doing and its implication on the sabbath observing passengers! United, which does not fully understand the implications of Shabbat, were the ones who were VERY respectful of the religious issues.
Aside from flying planes from the 1970’s, aside from rude service, if we cannot count on them to at least honor our observance, then they have no unique selling proposition that would cause us to use them in the competitive marketplace.
The pilot made a mistake, and ELAL should “man up” and admit it and take corrective action. Admit the mistake, apologize, issue a statement on how this will not happen again, compensate the affected passengers and move on. Having this linger in the courts and press will not help our nation’s airline.
And shame on the press for publishing derogatory news without first investigating the facts!

Madly curious

Would be nice if Drudge would post a retraction….


Fake Airline, Fake News.


I’m glad the story about “chareidi violence” wasn’t true, I highly doubted it from the beginning. And it would be great if El Al and the chiloni and international medias were very clear in stating the truth about what did and didn’t happen to undo the bad impression of chariedim that they spread.
One thing though, I think we orthodox or chareidi Jews should use this as a wake up call. Maybe a wakeup not to fly winter thursdays like some said, maybe not to fly El Al like some said. But most importantly know that for whatever set of reasons there are many people who watch us and have their biases set from the start, WE HAVE TO MAKE A KIDUSH H’ 24/7!
I personally was told not to switch seats if placed next to a woman and to daven b’ychidus to not inconvenience others. If your Rav says otherwise it is your responsibility to find a way that is sensitive and respectful, other people are going to be inconvenienced and you are asking for a favor not demanding something owed to you. Let’s remember this and continue to stand up for doing ratzon H’ both in adam l’makom and l’chaviero.

shlomy reich

Really hope el-al gets put in a position where they finally need to accept the consequences of there actions(not just this story)..

you know what el-al will end up doing is giving the people suing them the amount asked but in vouchers towards El-al airlines forcing them to once again use El-al


Unfortunately they cannot reasonably undo the chilul Ha-Shem thay they caused and ElAl must pay the price in this world and the next.

Any shomer shabbos Jew on the flights also needs to do a major reckoning for their unwitting responsibility for causing this situation – by taking such flights, even if the risk is what they view as minimal – the result can be catastrophic!


I sent this to customer service and i urge you to copy and paste and send as well to
You keep getting yourselves deeper and deeper in trouble with your public relations disaster.
You simply do not understand American mentality – you have successfully insulted your main base of business which is really dumb.
Here are a few quick steps you can take to get yourself out (and if you are smart, you will listen but i am not holding my breath):

1. Admit you lied. No excuses.
2. Fire the pilot or boss who ordered him to lie to passengers.
3. Pay all the passengers for aggravation and grief the 50,000 shekel they are suing for.
4. Take out full page ads in Israeli and American Secular and Chareidi papers admitting you lied.
5. Make sure you never pull a stunt like this again with the understanding that chareidim are you bread and butter (this isn’t the first time you have done this).

Problem solved. Anything less simply wont do.
Until then, WE WILL BOYCOTT !!!!!!!!!


1. agreed
2. Over done, penalty is enough
3. What aggravation? It was up to them when they boarded the plane.
4. Over done!
5. You dont have the numbers to back this up.
6. They treated shabbos beautifully. They accommodated all passengers in a real shabbos way. It was us who should have known better not them!


Government needs to figure out what the regulations truly are for ElAl. There is an argument to allow the airline to operate on Shabbat (like many other things operate in Israel) and there is an argument to prohibit the airline to operate on Shabbat (like buses).

The regulation has too many vagaries (like allowing Arkia flight designations to circumvent the rules) which allow ElAl to make decisions that they clearly are not doing wisely.

They are trying to cater too many different constituencies. There are significant non-religious people on these flights and everyone has to recognize that there are significant tensions between Secular Israelis and religious ones – particularly the secular Ashkenaz, many who are almost anti-religious (sorry, if that hits to close to home for some). This creates a bad environment when decisions are made that conflict with what the populations on the plane want.

Government should have clear rules as to what ElAl is allowed to do and keep it simple (e.g. you cannot take off if you will not land in Israel 90 minutes before Shabbat). This removes the decision making part and the rules can be set very clearly for customers.


aside from the lying and related issues, I think the bottom line for Orthodox Jews is to learn (as Dan said) that we should not be getting on a plane if there is any chance a delay will bring it in to shabbos. That is each and everyone’s personal responsibily. That is not to say el al is not responsible for their behavior. Domestic flights can have similar problems as well so this pertains to any Friday travel.

Very Hangry

Is 2.5MM million or billion


We have an attitude that being they are a Jewish airline they are obligated to cater to our needs. This is totally wrong. Unfortunately they are not religious and do not care about Shabbos or our religious needs. It’s up to us if we want to fly with them on “ there” conditions.The only thing they did wrong is to lie to the passengers everything else is nonsense. They were not obligated to return to the gate. No other airline would do that except if there is a medical emergency.

Let me ask you, had this been on Turkish Airlines would the same commotion happen on the tarmac or would you sit quietly in shame? What where you thinking boarding a plane two hours late on a snowy day? Relying on a miracle when the whole city is frozen!

The biggest issue of this whole story as stated earlier is that religious Jews boarded that plane so close to Shabbos.
@moishe writes point #6 in bold, but with the wrong wording. We started up with Shabbos not them, so we got punished!


The issue is that the company is not allowed to legally fly on shabbos.

The entire problem was the lack of honest communication.

If a company makes guarantees they need to keep to it, whether the client is “Charedi” or not.

Eli Klein

That was exactly my point the only issue on hand is there dishonesty.

“The issue is that the company is not allowed to legally fly on shabbos.” They did not fly on shabbos.

Kosher Guy

Maybe I’m rehashing but not to shift any blame form ELAL, I wonder what people were thinking. On a good day why does one plan to arrive at Noon on a winter Friday. We all know that “stuff” happens. I fly weekly, mostly domestic, and believe me, “stuff” happens. That’s why I fly on Fridays very infrequent.
We have to take some responsibility.
The same is true about people driving late on erev shabbos, not leaving themselves time to fix problems


El Al’s problem is and always was financial satisfaction over consumer’s.
Until they change that………..

Swiss Observer

Did anyone else notice that if you attack Orthodox jews on Friday night Israel time in traditional and social media, you can claim anything you want, and by the time we can respond Motze Shabbos the news cycle is long over and opinions have been made?