Debra Ryder of Florida boards El Al flight only to find haredi man sitting in her seat. She is forced to sit elsewhere after charedi men refuse to sit next to her.

After Israeli bus companies agreed to separate genders on certain bus lines around Israel to respect the sensitivities of ultra-Orthodox Jews, it seems Israeli national carrier  El Al is now following suit.

Debra Ryder of Florida boarded an El Al flight recently from New York to Israel, only to find that a haredi man was sitting in her designated seat, Army Radio reported Thursday. Ryder was told that she could not sit there because other haredi men sitting in the same row did not want to sit next to her.

A flight attendant directed Ryder to another seat on the plane, even though she requested the original seat for medical reasons. She was forced to sit in the other seat for the entire duration of the flight, Army Radio said.

“In a subtle way, the flight attendant hinted that the men were religious, that they saw me and refused to get up from the seat,” Ryder said. “It was clear that the flight attendant did not know how to deal with the situation.

Debra Ryder of Florida boards El Al flight only to find charedi man sitting in her seat. She is forced to sit elsewhere after charedi men refuse to sit next to her.

“They didn’t even ask me [if they could sit there] and I felt humiliated. If they would have asked me first, it would have been different. I never imagined I would have to experience something like this.”

Ryder contacted El Al and demanded the company compensate her to the amount of NIS 50,000 for the grief caused her by the incident and for the gender discrimination she says she suffered.

In addition, in a letter sent by her lawyer, Orly Erez Lukhovski, from the Israel Religious Action Center, Ryder demanded that El Al distribute clear guidelines to the company’s employees on how to act in such cases.

In response, El Al said: “El Al flight attendants are at the service of passengers, they are faced with different requests and they try to help as much as possible. The passenger’s complaint will be looked into and dealt with accordingly.”

Source: Israel Hayom


  1. I think this is overdone. The halacha clearly states that a man is not allowed to walk through between two women that are talking to each other.

    The charedim came and took it out of context and flip over an entire flight for non sense. There is no halacha that you cannot sit next to a woman.

    Stop the insanity already!

  2. i am not very familiar with the laws of modesty and sitting next to a female traveler, but i do know the laws of chilil hashem and for a man to sit on some lady’s seat in the name of “Jewish law” is an ludicrous.

    The bais Hamikdahs was destroyed for Chilil hashem and not for sitting next to a woman.

    To be extreme is terrible, whether you are a Jew or a Muslim.

    You wonder why the Charedim are hated so much?, wonder no more.

  3. I bet you a dollar do a doughnut that if this would not have been a Frum yingerman with a chassidic look, she would have no problem moving her seat and changing anything they asked her.

    These people hate the frum people and they will do everything and anything they can as long as it is against the Torah.

    and out of all places to happen on an Israeli airline is sadder, because a non Jew would respect a frum jew, but a “Chiloni” will on purpose try to make it inconvenient because she feels guilty for the way she looks.

    i would pretty much gaurantee, that this woman’s great grandfather gave his life in Auschwitz with a full beard and payos

  4. Whatever the case is, how dare this man take her seat? She paid for the seat and if you have a problem, get up and walk off the plane.

    When you do that, it will show me that you really mean it.

    How dare you sit on her seat that she reserved and paid for?

  5. I agree with Yonah and Frequent Flyer – as a frum resident of Washington Hts. NYC, its inconceivable that pious members of my community would act this way! Such behavior dampens support for Israel in chutz l’aretz, just when we may need it most.


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