Yeshivah students thrown off plane before take-off

By Elliot Miller, June 4, 2013
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Southwest plane (Photo: Luiz Eduardo)

Southwest plane (Photo: Luiz Eduardo)

One hundred yeshivah students and their eight adult chaperones were thrown off an Atlanta-bound plane, just after boarding in New York. The students were from an Orthodox yeshivah in Brooklyn.

CNN reported that airline, Southwest, had accused the group of using their mobile telephones and refusing to remain in their seats just before take-off, which went against regulations.

Reports from the school and the airline were conflicting.

Southwest said one of the group had refused to listen to a warning and, as a result, the whole group were told to leave the plane.

However some of the students had a very different view. According to the Jerusalem Post, one of the students, Jonathan Zehavi, said he felt they were targeted because they were an identifiably Jewish group. “We were treated like terrorists,” he said.

Mr Zehavi added: “I’ve never seen anything like it. I'm not someone to make these kinds of statements. I think if it was a group of non-religious kids, the air stewardess wouldn't have dared to kick them off."

"It blew out of proportion. It was a mountain out of a molehill," teacher and chaperone Marian Wielgus reportedly told CNN.

The airline ended up giving travel vouchers to the students so they could continue their trip, but some had connecting flights and needed 12 hours to reach their destinations.

Last updated: 4:47pm, June 4 2013