A British-Israeli woman filed a lawsuit last week against EasyJet for moving her seats on two separate flights because ultra-Orthodox Jewish men refused to be seated next to a female passenger. Melanie Wolfson, 38, is suing the airline for £15,000 worth of compensation, which was filed on her behalf by the Israel Action Centre (IRAC).

Ms.Wolfson was on her flight from Ben Gurion Airport headed to London in October last year, when a haredi Orthodox man and his son asked her to switch seats with another man sitting a few rows ahead. However, Wolfson had paid extra for an aisle seat. A flight attendant intervened and offered Wolfson a free drink as an incentive to move seats. Fearing the backlash of passengers for delaying the flight on her account, Wolfson agreed to the switch.

Just two months later, on another flight from Israel to London, Wolfson was again asked to move seats by two ultra Orthodox men. She refused their request but then two female passengers agreed to change seats with the two men sitting next to her. During this time the cabin crew allegedly did not make any efforts to defend her right to maintain her seat, but she was once again offered a free drink.

According to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Wolfson filed the complaints after both incidents but received no response from the airline. Several flight attendants on the first flight incident have told Wolfson that it was common for the airline to ask women to switch seats to accommodate ultra-Orthodox men.

Wolfson said, "I would not have had any problem whatsoever switching seats if it were to allow members of a family or friends to sit together, but the fact that I was being asked to do this because I was a woman was why I refused."

She added: "What was even more infuriating was that there were passengers watching this happen who said nothing."

The budget airline is being sued in violation of Israeli law which prohibits discrimination against customers on basis of race, religion, nationality, land of origin, sexual orientation, political views and personal status.

Although EasyJet is not headquartered in Israel, lawyers can argue that it is subject to Israeli law while the plane is on the ground at Ben Gurion International Airport.

In her lawsuit, Wolfson is also asking EasyJet to ban its cabin crew from asking women to switch seats because of their gender.

A statement from a spokeswoman for the airline said, "We take claims of this nature very seriously. Whilst it would be inappropriate to comment, as this matter is currently the subject of legal proceedings, we do not discriminate on any grounds."

Purim 2016
Ultra-Orthodox Jews and a boy read the book of Esther at a synagogue in the Israeli city of Beit Shemesh Menahem Kahana/ AFP