Monday, December 04, 2006

Charedi boycott of El Al and the Chiloni response

Because of the strike last week in Israel, El Al had a number of flights that flew on shabbos. Because of this the Charedi world is threatening a boycott.

I support this. El Al is a business and if they want the Charedi public's money they have to take care of them as customers. El Al understood the consequences of flying on Shabbos and now they have to deal with it. This is a perfectly legitimate consumer decision and has nothing to do with religious coercion.

Ynet published an article about this and the talkbacks to the article are very scary for their absolute hatred of the Charedi public, and complete ignorance and stupidity. Here are some of their silly claims:
1. Continental, Lufthansa, etc. fly on shabbos so how are they different from El Al? Somehow they can't understand that a goy is allowed to work on Shabbos and a Jew is not.
2. On Continental, Lufthansa, etc. the charedim will have no food to eat.
The chilonim haven't figured out that on just about any airline in the world I can get kosher food.
3. All the chilonim are now going to fly on El Al.
This is so ridiculous it is funny. The chiloni public will forget about this tomorrow and will fly on whatever airline gives them the best price.
4. This is religious coercion
Not at all. This is a group of consumers telling a company that they will only do business with them on their terms, take it or leave it. This is market economics at it's best.
5. No other airline wants the Charedi public
Given that the Charedi public makes up a large percentage of the traffic between Tel Aviv and NY there will be plenty of airlines who will try to accomodate the Charedi population to capture this market. Israir is already talking about signing an agreement not to fly on Shabbos.

There is 1 common thread on most of the talkbacks, hate for the Charedi public, especially the way they are perceived to act while flying. The impression that the chiloni public gets from the Charedi traveler on El Al is a very negative one. People are constantly walking around blocking the aisles and making noise, the minyan blocks the aisles and the bathrooms etc. While this also may be biased, there is definitely some truth to this and the Charedi public needs to realize when traveling, that to the average chiloni they represent Torah Judaism and therefore they need to act in a fashion that creates a kiddush hashem and not a chillul hashem.

1 comment:

Tal Benschar said...

Remeber the good old days of Tower Air? That was like Bnei Brak with wings -- or a shteeble in the sky, as I liked to call it.