Ultra-Orthodox Passengers Riot Aboard El Al Plane Over Screening of Film

Ultra-Orthodox men en route to visit Rabbi Nachman's grave say were promised movie wouldn't be screened.

Ultra-Orthodox passengers on an El Al flight to Kiev caused a serious commotion Sunday morning after, according to their testimony, a movie was screened on board the plane.

The Haredi men, en route to Uman, Ukraine to visit the gravesite of Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav, said that the airline had promised not to show a film during the flight.

When the screens began to unfold in preparation for the screening, the ultra-Orthodox men began going wild. "It was a pretty frightening sight," a passenger on the plane described the events. According to witnesses, the men began shouting and physically trying to prevent the movie screens from unfolding.

This is not the first time that El Al is faced with problems with ultra-Orthodox people on board flights to religious sites. In 2002, a flight crew had to prevent an ultra-Orthodox passenger, flying from Israel to Britain, from wrapping himself in plastic bags. The pilot was forced to return to Ben Gurion International airport in order to remove the passenger from the plane. The passenger, a Cohen, wrapped himself in plastic bags for fear that the plane's route would pass through the air above the Holon cemetery and he would consequently become impure.

Rabbi Yosef Shalom Eliashiv, the leader of the Lithuanian Haredi community in Israel, published a halakhic ruling in the past stipulating that Cohens mustn't fly in this plane because they are prohibited from flying over a cemetery. Later, Rabbi Eliashiv found a solution to this issue, ruling that wrapping oneself in thick plastic bags while the plane crossed over the cemetery is permissible.