El Al flight stops in Athens to avoid Sabbath desecration

El Al   photo: Sivan Farag

Snow in New York is causing cancellation of many flights.

Snowy weather in New York in recent days has disrupted many commercial flights. Flight cancellations and delays are forcing passengers to change their plans. On Friday, United Airlines flight 90 from Newark to Tel Aviv and the return flight, as well as flight 91, were canceled.

Passengers on El Al Israel Airlines Ltd. (TASE: ELAL) flight 008 from New York landed in Israel after the beginning of the Sabbath. The flight was planned to stop over in Rome on the way to Tel Aviv in order to avoid desecrating the Sabbath, but the flights went straight to Tel Aviv instead because of a medical emergency involving one of the passengers, which takes precedence over desecration of the Sabbath, as confirmed authorized by Israel Chief Sephardic Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef, who authorized the flight to continue after the Sabbath began.

In contrast to this flight, other El Al flights changed their routes in order to avoid Sabbath desecration. Two flights landed in Athens Airport, to the dissatisfaction of some of the passengers, who hoped to arrive in Israel on schedule without disruption. In order to avoid desecrating the Sabbath, these passengers were flown to Israel on flights by Israir Airlines and Tourism Ltd. Sabbath observant passengers remained in Athens.

El Al said in response, "The extreme weather in New York is causing major cancellations and delays in takeoffs among the hundreds of El Al flights to Israel that left last night. In view of the delays, and because El Al does not fly on the Sabbath, the company was forced to instruct flight 002 to land in Athens on Friday. El Al will arrange alternative flights to Israel for all of the passengers. Passengers preferring to remain in Athens on Saturday will be handed by the company's representatives. El Al will bring them to Israel after the Sabbath.

"Flight 008, which was scheduled to land in Rome after the appropriate arrangements were made, flew on and landed in Tel Aviv because of a life-threatening medical condition of one of the passengers. The decision was made following consultation with the company's doctor and rabbi, with the approval of the Chief Sephardic Rabbi of Israel.

"We apologize for the inconvenience caused to our customers."

Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on November 18, 2018

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2018

El Al   photo: Sivan Farag
El Al photo: Sivan Farag
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