El Al 001
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Divinewrath Strikes Shabbat-breaking El Al, Say R

Wed Dec 06, 2006 1:53 am

05.12.06 | 09:32 By Yair Ettinger, Haaretz (One of Israel's 3 leading newspapers)

Yesterday morning the storm around El Al's desecration of the Sabbath on Friday was transformed from a consumer issue and struggle to preserve "the sanctity of the Sabbath," into a saga in which the "finger of God" was visible to many.

El Al flight LY007 had taken off from Tel Aviv for New York a little after 11:30 A.M., when a problem was discovered in the landing gear. As the captain jettisoned fuel over the sea in preparation for an emergency landing back at Ben-Gurion International Airport, panic broke out among the passengers. "People thought it was the end; everyone was shaking," a passenger, Eliezer Karlibach, said. "Even a secular person seated next to me totally panicked and said it was all happening because of the desecration of the Sabbath."

The plane landed safely and repairs were made. Before the plane took off again, Karlibach told Haaretz, "It was a miracle, no doubt about it, it was from Heaven."

Even before yesterday's mechanical trouble, a number of ultra-Orthodox travelers canceled their El Al tickets at the last moment and decided to fly another airline.

Many are said to believe that the plane's mechanical trouble was a sign of divine confirmation of a statement Sunday by Rabbi Haim Kanievsky, an influential figure of the Lithuanian stream, broadcast on the community's Kol Hai radio station, that flying El Al endangered life.

From a trickle, it's become a stream. Ultra-Orthodox travel agents report hundreds of cancellations.

These statements followed Lithuanian sector leader Rabbi Yosef Sholom Elyashiv's consternation regarding El Al's failure to "fear desecration of Shabbat," despite the fact that it is the most terror-threatened airline in the world.

The storm began over the fact that despite the efforts of ultra-Orthodox MKs, on Thursday and Friday, El Al decided to permit flights to leave Israel shortly before the onset of Shabbat to make up for flights delayed during a nationwide strike last week. The flights took off on Friday afternoon and continued operating into the Sabbath, in defiance of the national carrier's traditional Shabbat observance.

No organized boycott foreseen

Another traveler, Nahum Karlinsky, who was on the plane to New York, told Haaretz that about 150 ultra-Orthodox passengers were on the flight to New York. Like him, many had received permission from their rabbis to fly El Al, in spite of the Sabbath desecration.

"Many rabbis, including the Gerer rebbe, said it was alright to fly this time because canceling the tickets would cause financial loss," Karlinsky, a well-known public figure in Bratslav Hasidic circles, said. "My rabbi knows I fly El Al all the time - I'm even a member of the frequent flier club. But he told me 'this is your last fight on El Al.'"

Yet, it is doubtful that these events will give rise to an organized ultra-Orthodox boycott of El Al. The rabbinic committee on matters pertaining to Shabbat, a forum that includes all central streams of ultra-Orthodox Judaism, met again, yesterday, to consider its response to El Al's actions. Some time this week, they are expected to formulate an announcement to be signed by rabbis of all ultra-Orthodox sectors.

Ultra-Orthodox powerbrokers, who met yesterday with Israir representatives, said that the domestic carrier is prepared to cease flying on the Sabbath if the community makes increased use of its services.

In regard to negotiations with Israir, Shabbat committee chairman Rabbi Yitzhak Goldknopf, told Haaretz, "We were in contact with them in the past, but we didn't take it seriously because we were committed to El Al. After El Al breached our trust, we consider ourselves free of any obligation."

The non-organized boycott began to expand even before leading rabbis came out with statements against the airline. The committee announced it was preparing to announce "harsh steps." An official boycott could deal a fatal blow to El Al - it would obligate not only ultra-Orthodox travelers from Israel, but also tens of thousands of ultra-Orthodox travelers from abroad. The rabbis of the national religious stream would also be expected to join the decision.

Rebuffed by the rabbis

El Al CEO Haim Romano called the committee of rabbis for a meeting but was rebuffed last night.

However Zohar Blumenkrantz reports that Romano told Haaretz yesterday he did not believe a decision to boycott El Al would pass.

"El Al is sensitive to the needs of the ultra-Orthodox public and will, therefore, avoid changing its policy by flying on Shabbat, except in extraordinary cases, like those which took place last weekend. We are convinced that the entire public understands the circumstances and respects El Al's loyalty to its clientele."

Ultra-Orthodox passengers represent 20-30 percent of the clientele on El Al flights. Ultra-Orthodox passengers typically fly during certain seasons of the year, and to certain destinations. They represent a larger percentage of passengers on flights to New York and London, than they do on flights to the Far East. The great majority of ultra-Orthodox passengers do not fly throughout the year, like business passengers. They tend to fly during Jewish holiday seasons and in summer, following the three-week mourning period that precedes Tisha B'Av.
 
CO7e7
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RE: Divinewrath Strikes Shabbat-breaking El Al, Say R

Wed Dec 06, 2006 2:01 am

Quoting El Al 001 (Thread starter):
Even before yesterday's mechanical trouble, a number of ultra-Orthodox travelers canceled their El Al tickets at the last moment and decided to fly another airline.

This sounds very hypocritical to me.

They don't want to fly on LY but it's OK to fly another airline?

I honestly don't get it... i wish someone can explain this to me.
 
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scbriml
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RE: Divinewrath Strikes Shabbat-breaking El Al, Say R

Wed Dec 06, 2006 2:15 am

And we're living in the 21st century? banghead 
Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana!
 
PanAm747
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RE: Divinewrath Strikes Shabbat-breaking El Al, Say R

Wed Dec 06, 2006 2:32 am

Quote:
This sounds very hypocritical to me.

They don't want to fly on LY but it's OK to fly another airline?

That was my reaction...first G-d is striking them down for flying on the Sabbath, then he changes his mind and decides to save them?

Then he somehow tells people "this was for flying El Al on the Sabbath...next time you want to break one of my laws, fly another airline - you'll be okay".

What humanity can convince itself of.

El Al will not go out of business if they start operating on the Sabbath. A few might "huff and puff", but the airline is not going to go out of business. If it is a private organization, then it needs to stand up to those who would mis-use religion for their own personal gain.

And btw, good luck on finding a last minute ticket on CO or DL out of TLV...especially at the last minute...even on the Sabbath!!
Pan Am:The World's Most Experienced Airline - P(oor) S(ailor's) A(irline): San Diego's Hometown Airline-Catch Our Smile!
 
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PA110
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RE: Divinewrath Strikes Shabbat-breaking El Al, Say R

Wed Dec 06, 2006 2:34 am

Quoting Scbriml (Reply 2):
And we're living in the 21st century?

Apparently not. It seems a good portion of ELAL's customers are still living in biblical times! Hard to believe, isn't it? As if the airline didn't have enough challenges, a PITA customer base is just another hurdle they have to deal with. It's really a never ending test of the airline management's patience and understanding.
It's been swell, but the swelling has gone down.
 
shlomoz
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RE: Divinewrath Strikes Shabbat-breaking El Al, Say R

Wed Dec 06, 2006 2:37 am

Quoting CO7e7 (Reply 1):
This sounds very hypocritical to me.

They don't want to fly on LY but it's OK to fly another airline?

I honestly don't get it... i wish someone can explain this to me.

Really simple: If the airline in owned by Jews (or majority owned) then its a case of Jews violating the Sabbath. Hence, an observant Jew would be forbidden from patronizing a Jewish business that violates the restrictions of pubicly violating the ban on conducting business on the Sabbath. Nothing would preclude an observant Jew from patronizing, for example, Continental which is not a Jewish-owned airline and thus has no obligation to restrict its business practices on the Sabbath. The observant person would still not fly on CO on the Sabbath, but CO's conducting business on the Sabbath would not preclude him/her from patronizing CO at other times. With El Al, if it conducts business on the Sabbath, the observant Jew would be precluded from patronizing El Al at any time. The same holds true for any business.

So, if LY values this market segment and considers it a critical part of its bottom line, they'll figure out a way to not violate Sabbath restrictions. If they think they can continue to exist and/or make money without the patronage of the observant Jewish world, then they will do otherwise.
 
CO7e7
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RE: Divinewrath Strikes Shabbat-breaking El Al, Say R

Wed Dec 06, 2006 2:50 am

Quoting Shlomoz (Reply 5):

thank you for explaining it Shlomoz!

Zaki
 
todaReisinger
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RE: Divinewrath Strikes Shabbat-breaking El Al, Say R

Fri Dec 08, 2006 4:31 pm

Did ultra-orthodoxs boycott El Al during all the years when flights were operated during Shabbat? The Shabbat no-fly policy was not always applied at LY; it was the subject of a major coalition crisis in the early 80s, when religious parties put as a condtion for their entry into the coalition the introduction of a legal ban forbidding LY to fly on Shabbat and other festivals.

Personnally, I find it rather strange that all the highest religious authorities were able to deal with such an efficiency and such a velocity over a question which seems totally weird and uninteresting to many people, while these same authorities seem pathologically unable to discuss serious issues like, most recently again, the divorce and the "get" problematic.
And...El Al is actually operating flights on Shabbat: cargo flights are clearly indicated in the El Al timetable dring the Shabbat, and Sun d'Or, which is a wholly-owned subsidiary, is flying each and every Saturday. Maybe they should just rename the flights as "Sun d'Or" when there's a danger of Shabat desecration.....
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geotrash
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RE: Divinewrath Strikes Shabbat-breaking El Al, Say R

Fri Dec 08, 2006 4:52 pm

*sigh*. Some day perhaps we as humans will be embarrassed to think that religion ever had any control over our minds and actions.
 
TeamAmerica
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RE: Divinewrath Strikes Shabbat-breaking El Al, Say R

Fri Dec 08, 2006 11:26 pm

Quoting Shlomoz (Reply 5):
Really simple: If the airline in owned by Jews (or majority owned) then its a case of Jews violating the Sabbath. Hence, an observant Jew would be forbidden from patronizing a Jewish business that violates the restrictions of pubicly violating the ban on conducting business on the Sabbath. Nothing would preclude an observant Jew from patronizing, for example, Continental which is not a Jewish-owned airline and thus has no obligation to restrict its business practices on the Sabbath. The observant person would still not fly on CO on the Sabbath, but CO's conducting business on the Sabbath would not preclude him/her from patronizing CO at other times. With El Al, if it conducts business on the Sabbath, the observant Jew would be precluded from patronizing El Al at any time. The same holds true for any business.

I appreciate this explanation, but the logic is certainly self-defeating. The intended result is to force El Al to observe the Sabbath. The more likely result is to bankrupt El Al.
Failure is not an option; it's an outcome.
 
RIXrat
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RE: Divinewrath Strikes Shabbat-breaking El Al, Say R

Fri Dec 08, 2006 11:40 pm

Technically, if the ElAl flight left Tel Aviv at 11:30 a.m. on a Friday it would still arrive at JFK (taking the time difference in account) way before sunset on that same day. Just a thought.
 
georgiaame
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RE: Divinewrath Strikes Shabbat-breaking El Al, Sa

Sat Dec 09, 2006 12:01 am

Quoting Scbriml (Reply 2):
And we're living in the 21st century

Actually, yes, most of us are.

Quoting Shlomoz (Reply 5):
Nothing would preclude an observant Jew from patronizing, for example, Continental which is not a Jewish-owned airline and thus has no obligation to restrict its business practices on the Sabbath.

And those observant Jews have long referred to them as "Shabbos goys"
which in my humble estimation is a pretty derogatory term, on par with the so called American "n-word". We non observant types have always looked askance at such unmitigated hypocricy.

Perhaps these 16th century nut cases would be best served flying Lufthansa, although I really don't think it would be fair to burden poor Germany with taking up the slack. Perhaps Egypt Air would be happy to accomodate them.
"Trust, but verify!" An old Russian proverb, quoted often by a modern American hero
 
Stealthz
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RE: Divinewrath Strikes Shabbat-breaking El Al, Say R

Sat Dec 09, 2006 8:11 am

Not knowing what "Shabbos Goy" meant I did a google search, interesting and having somewhat observant family on my maternal grandfather's side, surprised I didn't know it before.
That search also turned up a page of Jewish humour, one with some application here--

"Q: Is one permitted to ride in an airplane on Shabbos?
A: Yes, as long as your seat belt remains fastened. Then it is considered as if you are wearing the plane.

Cheers

[Edited 2006-12-09 00:39:48]
If your camera sends text messages, that could explain why your photos are rubbish!
 
todaReisinger
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RE: Divinewrath Strikes Shabbat-breaking El Al, Say R

Sat Dec 09, 2006 8:19 am

Quoting GeorgiaAME (Reply 11):
And those observant Jews have long referred to them as "Shabbos goys"
which in my humble estimation is a pretty derogatory term

I am very upset with the current behaviour of the religious authorities and communities regarding El Al policies, and the boycott threat is absolutely shocking.
But there's nothing "derogatory" in the notion of "Shabbes goy" in itself. In my opinion I would say it's rather the opposite; it's an illustration of a great aspect of Judaism: the fact that it is not trying to force people of other religions to convert to it or to obey the same rules. I think the world would be a better place (and commercial aviation more convenient...) if some other religions would be sharing that same point of view...

Now Egged, the main bus company in Israel, has introduced a dozen "kosher" lines; the busses have 2 separate cabins, one for men (in front I guess...) and one for women. Maybe El Al should launch the concept of "kosher flights", or, even better, develop a strictly kosher entity (El Al Glatt for instance) operating only "kosher flights" and applying carefully the Shabbat ban..... That would accomodate everybody: El Al would be able to fly 7 days a week while the percentage of ultra-orthodox flying El Al Glatt would surely still increase compared to the percentage flying currently with El Al...the secular and non-Jewish passengers of El Al wouldn't be disturbed anymore by religious passengers praying in the aisles...... Well, this could function only if the ultra-orthodox leaders would accept such an artificial separation....(somewhat similar concept to "Swissair Asia" which was "accepted" by the Chinese authorities...  Smile )
I bitterly miss the livery that should never have been changed (repetition...)

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