Two Israeli Druze couples have filed a NIS 200,000 compensation suit against El Al Israel Airlines Ltd. (TASE:ELAL) for alleged discrimination and humiliation during a baggage check before a flight back to Israel. The lawsuit says that the baggage check was, 'humiliating and racist while crushing the dignity of the plaintiffs, only because of their Druze origins."
In December 2018, the two couples, both in their sixties, came to Johannesburg airport with an organized tour group for an El Al flight back to Israel. According to the lawsuit, the El Al deputy security officer asked them to leave the line and provide him, in addition to their passports, with documentary proof that they had served in the Israeli security forces.
When asked why the other passengers had not been asked to furnish such proof, the security officer raised his voice and said, according to the lawsuit, "You'll find the documents because that's what I've decided." He was also rude to the rest of the group who were trying to calm him down. One of the Druze men showed the security officer a document that he was an Israel Police pensioner. The security officer then demanded such a document from the second Druze man. This demand was not heard by other members of the group.
The Druze passengers claim that this "bullying behavior" continued until another security officer came to complete the process and he allegedly admitted that the first security officer's behavior was 'out of order.'
The lawsuit claims that the security officer also picked on the Druze because the women had white head coverings in accordance with Druze tradition, making them an easy target.
The lawsuit filed by Adv. Ronit Moskovitz of the Ministry of Justice Haifa District legal assistance department says that the requirements for approval by the security services were not more than the other members of the tour group. The two Druze men each served for decades in senior positions in the Israel Police and Israel Prisons Service, respectively, and claimed that they had encountered similar discriminatory treatment from El Al on previous occasions.
El Al, which has not yet seen the lawsuit, declined to comment.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on October 10, 2021
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