Holocaust Survivor Suing Jewish Airline For Gender Discrimination


As reported by The National Secular Society, Renee Rabinowitz, an 81 year old Holocaust survivor is suing Israeli airline El Al  for gender related discrimination. She began legal action after being asked to move seats by one of the flight attendants. Why? Because an ultra-Orthodox Jewish male passenger refused to sit next to her because she is a woman. You can read the religious ‘rationale’ for that refusal here.

Ms Rabinowitz eventually agreed to the request and switched seats, but not before seeking an explanation from the male passenger –  who reportedly responded with “it’s in the Torah”. As the NSS reports, Ms Rabinowitz said:

“For me this is not personal. It is intellectual, ideological and legal. I think to myself, here I am, an older woman, educated, I’ve been around the world, and some guy can decide that I shouldn’t sit next to him. Why?

“When did modesty become the sum and end all of being a Jewish woman?


The reason Ms Rabinowitz is suing the airline, rather than the passenger is because she feels she was pressurised into moving by airline staff.

If you think instances of Judaism inspired sexism on airplanes are rare, then think again. On a number of occasions, planes have suffered severe delays for this exact problem. Over on his blog ‘Why Evolution Is True’, Jerry Coyne has documented many examples of this utter madness. Not to mention the queer case of the Jew in the plastic bag

Religion appears to be the only area of civilised modern life where flagrant discrimination and backward practices enjoy a free pass under the guise of ‘religious freedom’. When will the adults finally start telling these people to behave themselves, or get off the plane? Call me cynical, but I doubt a Muslim acting up on an aircraft would enjoy the same level of accommodation…

Stephen Knight is host of The #GSPodcast. You can listen to The Godless Spellchecker Podcast here, and support it by becoming a patron here.


  • “I doubt a Muslim acting up on an aircraft would enjoy the same level of accommodation”
    You would be surprised what is tolerated on some flights. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SN0U8_mIVwc

  • With respect: Professor Coyne has a website, not a blog. Just ask him!

  • Tamsin Mc Cormick

    I hope Ms Rabinowitz wins and costs the airline enough money to cause them to re-think this daft behaviour.
    I suggest that they put up signs that require all passengers to respect each other and the secular laws of America.
    As for ” it’s in the Torah ” . I suppose that’s in the Book of Modern Aircraft ” – The chapter on women on ‘planes. verse 15
    ” Thou shalt not sit next to any woman on a ‘plane or else ” . I may have mis-translated this from the original Hebrew of course .

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