Holocaust survivor wins gender base case against El Al

An advocacy group said Thursday that it has won a case against Israel's national airline that will make it illegal to ask females passengers to move their seats at the request of ultra-Orthodox males.

The Israel Religious Action Center filed the case on behalf of Renee Rabinowitz — an 83-year-old Holocaust survivor who had said she felt humiliated when an El Al flight attendant asked her to move from her seat at the request of an ultra-Orthodox man. Laws observed by some ultra-Orthodox Jews stipulate strict separation of the sexes.

According to Wednesday's decision, requesting a passenger to move their seat based on gender amounts to discrimination.

"Just as they wouldn't move someone if they said 'I don't like Arabs, I won't sit next to an Arab,' they would say 'we are sorry, we can't accommodate that', it's the same thing now with gender," Rabinowitz said.

The center called the ruling "revolutionary." It said El Al was ordered to pay Rabinowitz about $1,700 in damages.

In a statement, El Al said the sides had reached an agreement and that the airline would respect the ruling.


This story has been corrected to show woman is 83.