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Agudat’s Council of Sages Moving to Impose a Boycott on El Al Unless It Halts Sabbath Flights

The Agudat Israel’s governing Council of Sages is putting the finishing touches to an announcement imposing a boycott against El Al, forbidding Orthodox Jews to travel by the Israel national airline if El Al does not immediately halt flights on the Sabbath.

Premier Menachem Begin had agreed with the Aguda demand in return for that party’s agreement to support the coalition without ministerial representation.

Aguda sources said the airline stood to lose heavily financially if observant Jews stopped using it. It was not immediately clear if only Aguda members would heed a Council of Sages boycott call, or whether other observant Jews would fall in line.

Airline officials expressed shock at reports of the boycott plan, saying a government-appointed committee to look into the financial and economic implications of a Sabbath flight ban had still to report back to the Cabinet.