A lawsuit claims that an airline discriminated against Renee Rabinowitz by moving her seat after an ultra-Orthodox man said he did not want to sit next to a woman.
Here’s how the Times story begins:
JERUSALEM — RENEE RABINOWITZ is a sharp-witted retired lawyer with a Ph.D. in educational psychology, who escaped the Nazis in Europe as a child. Now she is about to become a test case in the battle over religion and gender in Israel’s public spaces — and the skies above — as the plaintiff in a lawsuit accusing El Al, the national airline, of discrimination.
Ms. Rabinowitz was comfortably settled into her aisle seat in the business-class section on El Al Flight 028 from Newark to Tel Aviv in December when, as she put it, “this rather distinguished-looking man in Hasidic or Haredi garb, I’d guess around 50 or so, shows up.”
The man was assigned the window seat in her row. But, like many ultra-Orthodox male passengers, he did not want to sit next to a woman, seeing even inadvertent contact with the opposite sex as verboten under the strictest interpretation of Jewish law. Soon, Ms. Rabinowitz said, a flight attendant offered her a “better” seat, up front, closer to first class.
Reluctantly, Ms. Rabinowitz, an impeccably groomed 81-year-old grandmother who walks with a cane because of bad knees, agreed.
“Despite all my accomplishments — and my age is also an accomplishment — I felt minimized,” she recalled in a recent interview in her elegantly appointed apartment in a fashionable neighborhood of Jerusalem.
“For me this is not personal,” Ms. Rabinowitz added. “It is intellectual, ideological and legal. I think to myself, here I am, an older woman, educated, I’ve been around the world, and some guy can decide that I shouldn’t sit next to him. Why?”
Fundamentalist men. Doesn’t matter what name brand religion they adhere to. They are psychotic misogynists.
Or am I being too harsh?
Nah. And rah, Renee Rabinowitz.