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Holocaust survivor wins Israel airline case over gender bias

“With the implementation of this ruling, a passenger asking to move their seat because of their gender will qualify as discrimination, and as such will be prohibited”, it said in an English-language statement.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.As I’ve said before, if ultra-Orthodox Jewish men refuse to sit next to women, they can just buy two seats.In December 2015, Renee Rabinowitz, a 81-year-old passenger boarded El Al’s flight 81 from Newark to Tel Aviv.El Al was ordered to pay Ms Rabinowitz about 1,700 dollars (£1,340) in damages, it said. Rabinowitz had been told this was company policy.The court ordered El Al to issue a written directive to its staff that such requests are illegal. She was asked by a flight attendant to move her seat at the request of the Haredi passenger sitting next to her.In February, 10 ultra-orthodox passengers stood in the aisles and refused to take their seats, causing a delay on an easyJet flight to the United Kingdom before female passengers agreed to move so the flight could leave. They eventually ended up living in Cuba before emigrating to the USA, where she eventually became a lawyer.”I feel good about the fact that (El Al) will now be required to tell … haredim [ultra-Orthodox men] who want women to move, that they can’t do it, that El Al flight attendants can’t do it”, Rabinowitz said on Israel Radio, as cited by Reuters.Anat Hoffman, the executive director of IRAC, described El Al’s accommodation of such demands to The Guardian a year ago as “one more way that ultra-Orthodox extremists get away with demands that have nothing to do with Judaism”. The airline was owned by the Israeli government before it was privatized in 2006.”It’s about time”, said one hareidi-religious businesswoman who lives in a prominent Israeli haredi town and frequently travels overseas.”Our problem is with pressuring women”, says Beck.In 1941 at the age of seven, Rabinowitz fled Belgium with her family to France and then Spain.Rabinowitz told the Times she was “exhilarated” by Judge Dana Cohen-Lekach’s ruling because “she realized it is not a question of money; they awarded a very small sum”.El Al’s lawyers had argued that the policy of accommodating special seating requests was not discriminatory because there are multiple cases where people are asked to move, or request to move.