By IsraelNationalNews.com and COLlive
Two EL AL planes that took off late Friday from JFK airport in New York will land in Rome and Athens instead of Ben Gurion Airport, in order to prevent religious and haredi travelers from arriving late to Israel and thus desecrating Shabbat.
Flight LY008 will land at 15:00 in Rome. Flight LY002 will land at 14:45 in Athens.
The planes took off late from New York due to stormy weather. El Al will take care of alternative flights to Israel for all passengers, except those who prefer to stay in Athens or Rome on Shabbat so as not to violate Shabbat, and will be treated by company representatives. EL AL will place planes that will return them to Israel at the end of the Sabbath.
El Al said in a statement that “extreme weather in New York is causing cancellations and delays in hundreds of flights, including El Al flights that left Israel last night. Due to the delays and delays, El Al does not fly on Saturday, the company is forced to land Flight 002 in Athens and Flight 008 in Rome.”
“EL AL will take care of alternative flights to Israel for all passengers. In addition, passengers who prefer to stay in Athens or Rome on Shabbat will be treated by representatives of the company and do not worry about returning them to Israel at the end of Shabbat. We apologize for the inconvenience caused to our customers.”
In Athens, Rabbi Mendel and Nechama Hendel of Chabad of Greece will be hosting the passengers on Shabbos for davening and meals. The notice had Chabad staff scrambling, but willing to assist.
One of the passengers on that flight is Rabbi Sholom Ber Sorotzkin, the Rosh Yeshiva of Ateres Shlomo in Beit Shemesh and its kollel. He was filmed taking a shuttle to Chabad while singing Shabbos tunes.
Video: Stranded passengers sing Shabbos songs
In Moscow, some 50 Jewish passengers were left stranded and will be hosted by Chabad. One group will be staying at a hotel near the Marina Roscha Jewish Community Center. Another group which didn’t have an entry visa to Russia will be remaining at a hotel near the airport.
The office of Chief Rabbi Berel Lazar said they will be providing kosher meals for Shabbos to both groups and help them celebrate in an honorable way.