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Whose Seat?

Whose Seat?

Anat Hoffman is right, if anything, understated, in saying El Al has a difficult job in managing the expectations of its diverse clientele, “A Victory for Women on Airline Seating” (June 30). The specific problem she writes about concerns a charedi man who, for religious reasons, balked at being seated next to passenger Renee Rabinowitz because she is a woman. Rabinowitz was moved to a different seat and later sued over her treatment.

Even in a culture where kvetching is normative, it’s astonishing that a fuss over airline seating winds up in court. The vexation and embarrassment that lead to Rabinowitz’s lawsuit (which she won) could have been avoided if, rather than changing Rabinowitz’s seat, the El Al crew had instead found a different seat for the man. Why should the woman be asked to move when it was the man who was unhappy with his seat? It’s surprising, given that Hoffman writes from a feminist perspective, that she doesn’t raise this point.


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