El Al Negotiating 'Mehadrin' Flights

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CBNNews.com - TEL AVIV, Israel - Israel's national El Al airlines is negotiating with representatives of the Haredi (ultra-Orthodox ) community to provide strictly kosher flights.

If the deal goes through, travelers would be gender separated, with male flight attendants serving men and female flight attendants serving women.

Meals would meet the strictest standards for kosher food -- referred to as 'Glatt' kosher -- and no inflight secular movies would be shown.

Rabbi Yitzhak Goldknoph, representing the Council for the Sanctity of the Shabbat (the Sabbath) said the arrangement would benefit the airlines, as some 20,000 yeshiva (religious seminary) students fly to the US during the Pesach (Passover) holiday every spring.

"These are customers who demand special conditions and in this era of consumerism, businesses cannot ignore the demands of their clientele," Rabbi Goldknopf said.

The Council, controlled by the Ger Hasidim sect, reached an agreement with El Al last year, following a haredi boycott against the airlines for desecrating Shabbat.

The incident occurred in 2006, when El Al flew Israelis who had been stranded by a general strike.

The agreement designated Sephardic Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar the halachic (Jewish religious law) authority who would decide if El Al could fly in the event of an emergency on Shabbat.

"I believe El Al is blessed from the heavens with economic success, thanks to its willingness to respect Shabbat," Rabbi Goldknopf said.

Source: The Jerusalem Post

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