Super religious men refuse to sit next to women, delay entire flight

An El Al flight from New York to Tel Aviv last week encountered serious delays and you'd never guess why. Apparently several ultra-orthodox Jewish men had refused to take their seats next to women and all for religious reasons. But not only did they delay they flight but they were also harassing and bullying these women to move their seats. How unfair is that?

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I'm pretty tolerant when it comes to most religions and spiritual practices. But should a man's religious rights interfere with a woman's civil rights? I think not! According to these ultra-orthodox Jewish men, they are forbidden from having any sort of physical contact of connection with women, unless they are related or married to them. So now you see how boarding a tight airplane can present itself as a problem for them.

The men refused to sit next to these women and started asking them to move. Some of them even tried paying off these women for seat changes. Can you believe that? "I ended up sitting next to a Haredi man who jumped out of his seat the moment we had finished taking off and proceeded to stand in the aisle," one woman told Ynet. Some of these men were so stubborn they stood up in the aisle the entire eleven-hour flight. It was hard for people to even get to the restroom. This could have been really dangerous had there been an emergency situation.

The crew didn't even know what to do. They didn't know who to accommodate: The orthodox Jewish men or the women that were being unfairly bullied and harassed. But the women on that flight aren't staying silent. In fact, on Monday they started a Change.org petition to prevent any kind of future harassment of female passengers on flights. Here's what it says:

"Why does El Al Airlines permit female passengers to be bullied, harassed, and intimidated into switching seats which they rightfully paid for and were assigned to by El Al Airlines? One person's religious rights does not trump another person's civil rights."

I honestly don't see a real solution to this problem. But whatever the airlines comes up with, they better find a way to accommodate these women because it's not fair they have to pay the price because one religious person feels they have the right to harass them!

Image via Corbis Images

Topics: discrimination  harrasment