Is El Al Breaking U.S. Law With Gender Segregation?

Following the delay of several El Al flights after haredi Orthodox men refused to sit next to women, a New York rabbi and attorney claims that some of the airline’s policies may violate U.S. law.

Rabbi Iris Richman, posting on the Facebook page, Jewish Voices Together, cites “49 U.S. Code § 40127 – Prohibitions on discrimination,” which states: “An air carrier or foreign air carrier may not subject a person in air transportation to discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, or ancestry.”

Richman told Haaretz that she called the U.S. Department of Transportation, Aviation Consumer Protection Division, who informed her that the department was “willing to investigate any situation where any employee of a carrier, i.e steward/ess participated in asking someone to change a seat because of their gender.”

Rabbi Richman’s post comes in the wake of the establishment of an online petition launched Sunday, which calls on the airline to provide a small section of gender-segregated seats for an extra fee. The petition further charges that the Israeli airline permits “female passengers to be bullied, harassed and intimidated into switching seats which they rightfully paid for and were assigned to.” Over 3,000 people have signed the petition online.

El Al maintains that it does not discriminates against passengers. A spokeswoman for the company, which is represented by the Israeli public relations firm Ran Rahav Communications, told Haaretz, “Our policy in general is to try to accommodate any customer request.”

Author

Your Comments

The Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. All readers can browse the comments, and all Forward subscribers can add to the conversation. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Forward requires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not and will be deleted. Egregious commenters or repeat offenders will be banned from commenting. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and the Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.

Recommend this article

Is El Al Breaking U.S. Law With Gender Segregation?

Thank you!

This article has been sent!

Close