A retired lawyer, who fled the Nazis when she was growing up in Belguim, has sued Israel’s national airline for gender discrimination.
Eighty-one year old Renee Rabinowitz claims El Al airlines asked her to move after an ultra-Orthodox Jewish man complained that sitting next to a woman went against his beliefs, the Guardian reports. Rabinowitz is now working with the Israel Religious Action Center, which fights to end gender segregation enforced on behalf of ultra-Orthodox Jews.
“The man had no other reason to complain than my gender – and that’s unlawful discrimination,” Rabinowitz, who is also Jewish, told the paper. “It’s no different than if a person of another religion had said: ‘I don’t want to sit next to a Jew.’ And I don’t believe El Al would move a person in those circumstance.”
The company has insisted it did not engage in discriminatory practices, telling Rabinowitz’s lawyer in a letter that they had investigated the incident and flight attendants had made it clear she was not obligated to move. The airline said it had also offered the woman a $200 voucher toward her next flight.
Rabinowitz has said it is the principle, not the money, that matters to her.
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