Tuesday, December 30, 2014

New York flight delayed as ultra-Orthodox Jewish men refuse to sit next to women passengers 

A flight from the US to Israel was reportedly delayed by half an hour when several ultra-Orthodox Jewish men refused to sit next to female passengers.

Israel Radio reported the Delta Airlines flight bound for Tel Aviv from JFK airport in New York took off 30 minutes after its scheduled departure time due to commotion onboard.

It is understood a number of Jewish men from the Orthodox Haredi sect were unable to take their assigned seats, which placed them next to women. Israel Radio claimed that other passengers refused to swap seats with the men, which caused the prolonged delay, the Huffington Post reports.

Some members of Hasidic Haredi Judaism are committed to gender separation in public settings, except with first-degree relatives.

Delta Airlines has not commented on the incident.

A similar incident affected an El Al flight from New York to Tel Aviv in September when Haredi men began asking woman seated next to them to move, and even offered compensation for seat changes.

Many called the flight an "11-hour long nightmare" and several women started a Change.org petition after the experience to pressure the airline to prevent future "discrimination and harassment" of female passengers on its flights.

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