A plane was delayed for over an hour on Thursday when an ultra-Orthodox man complained about a movie shown on the screen and refused to take his seat.
The flight from Kiev to Israel on the El Al-owned low-cost airline Up was unable to take off while the man insisted that the overhead screens be disabled.
“Our departure from Kiev tonight was delayed by an hour when an ultra-Orthodox man decided to take over the flight and announced that he would not take his seat until the screens were retracted,” sports reporter Amit Horsky posted on Facebook, along with a video of the incident.
“Every attempt by the crew and passengers to convince him [to sit down] didn’t help,” he wrote. “The plane, which was already on the runway, returned to the gate. The door was opened and an El Al security guard boarded the plane. After much pleading the ‘righteous man’ agreed to sit down.”
“I want to stress that dozens of ultra-Orthodox passengers on the flight yelled at the man, explaining to him that he was profaning God’s name through his actions,” Horsky said. “They told him that he was wasting important time for the 200 people whom he was detaining. An argument broke out between them which at times got very loud.
“The main thing is that this ‘righteous man’ has prostrated himself in Uman,” Horsky added cynically, referring to the site of the grave of Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav, where thousands of Hasidim come to pray.
In an official response to the incident, El Al said that the passenger allowed the flight to depart after flight attendants provided blindfolds for him and his family.
“Prior to the departure of the UP flight LY2654, from Kiev, the passenger refused to obey the safety instructions and refused to be seated or put on his seat belt,” El Al said in a statement.
“After a conversation with the plane’s crew and after it was made clear to him that [the plane] could not take off if he refused to listen to instructions, the passenger sat in his seat and the flight departed. At his request, he and his family received blindfolds.”