El Al Employees Complain of Religious Discrimination

Workers: Boss responded to complaint of religious discrimination by saying 'stop being religious.'

Three El Al employees who are observant Jews have complained the company discriminates against them because of their religious preferences.

El Al planes at Ben-Gurion International Airport.
El Al planes at Ben-Gurion International Airport.Tomer Appelbaum

All three are cargo operators who keep the Sabbath, which prohibits them from working on Friday night and Saturday.

They claim that their religious observance has affected their flight standing, and turned to El Al worker's committee chairman, Yossi Levy, who delivered their complaint to the head of the company.

According to Levy, the three all work in the cargo department - a role that includes loading and unloading luggage from El Al cargo planes flying to and from Israel. They also deal with technical issues.

"The boss' response was, When they stop being religious and keeping Shabbat, then we can talk about shift work," said Levy.

An El Al workers' representative described the comment as outrageous and said "This evokes unpleasant memories of similar accusations thrown at Jews during Europe's dark ages before the Holocaust."

El Al said the complaint had no basis and that they "employ hundreds of workers who observe Shabbat, in every sector of the company."