Adverts telling female passengers that they do not have to give up their plane seat to accommodate the wishes of strictly Orthodox men are not to be allowed in Israeli airports, authorities have said.
An initiative of the Israel Religious Action Center, the ads inform women that it is illegal for cabin crew to ask them to move seats because religious men are uncomfortable, but Israel’s airports authority has said it will not display them.
The IRAC wanted the advertising at Ben-Gurion Airport over Pesach, one of the year’s busiest travel times, and said they based their campaign on a recent court ruling confirming the legal position.
That case, held in June, involved 82-year old Holocaust survivor Renee Rabinowitz, who successfully sued El Al for gender discrimination after she was asked by the plane’s crew to move seats.
The ads, which read “Ladies, please take your seat … and keep it,” were deemed “political or divisive” by airport authorities.
IRAC director Anat Hoffman said the organisation may now sue the airports authority for the practice of asking women to move, which she described as “discriminatory, dehumanising and illegal”.
She said: “Since the ruling, we believe it’s still happening. Women are still not sure whether it’s kosher or not kosher.”
Hoffman added that the situation often meant that “other passengers, instead of telling [the Charedi man] to sit down, focus on the woman, saying, ‘Why don’t you just move, so the plane can take off?’”
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