Unruly El Al passengers and unusually heavy air traffic over Cyprus combined to cause havoc at Ben-Gurion International Airport on Sunday.
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The disruptions began when some of the estimated 20,000 Breslov Hasidim who travelled in an “airlift” to the Ukraine to pray at the grave of Rabbi Nachman of Uman began their return home. While in Kiev, some of the Hasidim engaged in what local officials described as “disorderly conduct.”
According to reports, they broke through security lines, and caused disruptions to El Al flights which were supposed to return to Israel and subsequently to take off to other destinations.
“During the course of the past 24 hours, since Saturday night, Israeli airlines have been operating an ‘airlift’ from Kiev, in which thousands of travelers who spent Rosh Hashana in Uman, Ukraine, were flown to Israel,” El Al said in a statement.
“Unfortunately, some of the passengers behaved improperly at Kiev airport and prevented El Al’s reinforced security inspection team at the site from doing its work. As a result the flights left late - which resulted in additional delays in the company’s flight schedule. El Al takes this incident very seriously and will take steps to prevent a repetition of such incidents in future.”