Discrimination or hoax? Questions emerge around harassment claim against Orthodox passengers

Journalist claims she was harassed by Orthodox Jews for refusing to change seats; others involved in the incident tell a very different story.

By Adina Katz, World Israel News Staff

An Israeli journalist’s bombastic declaration that she was harassed due to her gender on a United Airlines flight from New York to Tel Aviv recently made headlines.

According to Neria Krauss, a Haredi (ultra-Orthodox) man demanded that she move seats simply due to the fact that she is a woman.

“Haredim on the flight are attempting to move me from seat to seat because I am a woman,” the Channel 13 correspondent wrote on Twitter.

United Airlines is not taking care of it. I am being told that the flight will not depart because of me. Shame!”

Krauss added that a Hebrew-speaking United Airlines flight attendant had berated her for refusing to move seats, telling her that it was her fault if the flight would not take off on time.

The journalist added a photo of several Haredi men sitting in her row on the plane, apparently in order to publicly shame them.

However, independent journalist Daniel Amram managed to track down one of the men pictured, a resident of Brooklyn, and raised serious questions around Krauss’ version of events.

Read  Israeli arrested for TikTok incitement to assassinate Netanyahu

According to Amram, the man shown in Krauss’ viral tweet is a well-known member of the Orthodox community in New York who regularly hosts married couples and families for Shabbat dinners at his home. During those visits, he often sits next to women who are unrelated to him. This caused friends and acquaintances who saw the picture to question Krauss’ narrative that he refused to sit next to a woman on an airplane.

The man, who does not wish to be identified by name, told Amram that he politely asked Krauss to move because his son had bumped into a friend on the flight and they wanted to sit together.

At first, Krauss was happy to do so, but her attitude changed once she realized she was interacting with a religiously observant person.

“She was very friendly until I took off my [baseball] cap and she saw my yarmulke,” the man explained. “She says, ‘because I am a woman you want me to move?’ She started screaming.”

The man said that a flight attendant had indeed approached them, but she said the opposite of what Krauss claimed.

The United Airlines employee said that should any gender-based discrimination take place on the plane, the flight would be canceled, he recounted.

Read  New IDF draft bill draws criticism from politicians for its lack of Orthodox recruitment

However, because of the chaos and hostile atmosphere aboard the aircraft cauesd by Krauss’ screaming, a flight attendant did warn her that she would be held responsible for delaying the flight’s departure.

At no time did the flight attendant comment on Krauss’ refusal to change seats – rather, she was asked to calm down and stop creating a disruption, the man said.

After his recollection of the incident reached Hebrew-language media, Krauss doubled-down on her version of events, telling numerous media outlets that she was the victim of a smear campaign and that the Haredi men had conspired against her to discredit her story.