El Al pilot makes shocking in-flight statement about Holocaust, sparking outrage

El Al needs to respect its status as Israel’s national airline and act accordingly, says Transportation Minister after pilot’s in-flight political rant.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

An El Al pilot made an in-flight statement linking the potential reforms to Israel’s judicial system with the Holocaust on Yom HaShoah, Israel’s national day of mourning for Holocaust victims.

Addressing the cabin crew and passengers on a flight bound for New York on Tuesday morning, the pilot said that atrocities “like [the] Holocaust can only happen in a dictatorship, and we are fighting in Israel to remain a democratic country.”

The pilot’s words suggested that he was comparing plans to overhaul the justice system in Israel with events in Nazi-era Germany before the genocide of the Jewish people.

Preventing the reform of the judicial system was necessary for preventing massive human rights violations, he appeared to insinuate.

The pilot, who was identified by Walla News as Captain Doron Ginzburg, spoke in English.

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A passenger told Ynet that he was “in shock that an El Al pilot allows himself to do this the plane, and in general compare, even in a metaphor, the subject of the Holocaust to what has been happening in the country lately.”

Israel’s Channel 14 journalist Boaz Golan ripped up his El Al ‘Fly Card’ on live TV Tuesday, saying he would boycott the airline until Ginzburg is dismissed from his position.

El Al Airlines swiftly condemned Ginzburg’s remarks, stating that it does not permit “political statements of any kind, by any of its employees as part of their work, and certainly not on its planes, which cannot be a platform for this type of activity.”

The company added that the comments were especially unwelcome “on such a sensitive and significant day for the people of Israel.”

The statement stressed that Ginzburg’s words do “not reflect the company’s people and values” and pledged that El Al would launch an investigation into the incident.

Several weeks ago, numerous El Al pilots refused to fly Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara to Rome for a diplomatic visit, sparking a logistical challenge which was eventually solved when one pilot volunteered for the trip.

The transportation minister called El Al officials for a dressing-down after the incident, a source from her ministry told Ynet.

“Time after time, the pilots behave as if they are the masters of the country,” Transportation Minister Miri Regev reportedly said.

“This cannot continue, something bad is happening within [El Al.] The company needs to respect that it’s the national carrier and act accordingly. Maybe the flight paths are clear, but the company is losing direction.”