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November 26, 2014 / 4 Kislev, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘airplane’

US Pilots Warn: Terrorists Trying ‘Dry Runs’ for New 9/11

Monday, October 14th, 2013

The U.S. Airline Pilots Association is warning that terrorists are practicing dry runs under the eyes of federal marshals to carry out a mega-terror attack, and a one marshal told a Florida media outlet that the Transportation Security Administration is “lying” when it says it takes all reports of suspicious activity aboard aircraft seriously.

Two recent incidents have spiked fears that terrorists boarded flights to test their ability to stage another 9/11, and in one case, a pilot’s insistence not to fly before a thorough inspection of the plane resulted in discovering “evidence of tampering.”

The pilots’ memo from last month has been circulated and states that on a flight on the Orlando, Florida-Washington route, one “Middle Eastern” man leaped up from his seat towards the flight deck door and then made a sharp turn to head for the bathroom, where he remained “for a considerable length of time.”

At the same time, three other men with similar Middle Eastern features began changing seats, opening overhead compartments and generally “making a scene,” possibly with the intention of distracting flight attendants.

Tampa, Florida’s WTSP channel said the airline, US Airways, and the Transportation Security Administration confirmed the incident. The station reported that the FSA “takes all reports of suspicious activity aboard aircraft seriously, and the matter requires no further investigation at this time. “

However, a flight marshal, who obviously could not reveal his name, told WTSP that TSA claims that they investigate every case and take all of them seriously are lies. “They’re liars. They’re flat out liars,” he said. He explained that federal officials are hiding the truth there are problems with investigations of terror.

Industry “insiders” were reported as saying, “We’re waiting for the next 9/11 to happen, because it’s not a question of if. It’s a question of when.”

Investigators concluded that the incident on the Washington-Orlando flight was not a dry run and that there was no evidence of a threat.

However, after the plane landed in Orlando, the pilot refused to fly the plane again without a thorough inspection, despite US Airways officials insisting that it was not necessary. The pilot won the argument, and according to the pilots’ memo, “Guess what? Evidence of tampering was found.”

The second incident that worries the pilots occurred when several Middle Eastern women boarded a flight  while dressed head-to-foot in Muslim clothing including the veil. One passenger, who reportedly was a “significant VIP,” decided to forego flying on the plane when he discovered there were no air marshals on board.

The pilots said they accepted TSA  findings that the women were not terrorists carrying out a dry run.

Have a nice flight.

TSA and Customs Issue Etrog Travel Advisories

Sunday, September 15th, 2013

WASHINGTON (JTA) — U.S. authorities released travel guidelines for Sukkot.

“TSA’s screening procedures do not prohibit the carrying of the four plants used during Sukkot – a palm branch, myrtle twigs, willow twigs, and a citron – in airports, through or security checkpoints, or on airplanes,” the Transportation Security Administration said in a statement, noting the dates of this year’s Sukkot holiday, from Sept. 18-25.

The TSA notice said, however, that all passengers undergo security screening at checkpoints.

In a separate statement, U.S. Customs and Border Protection also noted that the four species were allowed entry, but noted a number of restrictions subject to inspection.

“Travelers will be asked to open the container with the ethrog and unwrap it,” its advisory stated. “The agriculture specialist will inspect the ethrog. If either insect stings or pests are found, the ethrog will be prohibited from entering the United States. If neither is found, the traveler will be allowed to rewrap and re-box the ethrog for entry into the United States.”

Twigs of willow from Europe are banned, it continued, and any sign of pests or disease will mean confiscation of the product.
In a press statement noting the allowances, Rabbi Levi Shemtov, who directs American Friends of Lubavitch, also urged observant Jews to cooperate with airline staff and authorities, for instance when praying aboard aircraft.

“Particularly, one should let flight attendants know if they will be davening in flight BEFORE they begin, and understand the implications, as well as potential prosecution, for ignoring requests to sit down when requested, etc.,” said Shemtov, who consulted with Rabbi Abba Cohen, the director of the Washington office for Agudath Israel of America, in setting out the guidelines. “For example, flight attendants do not usually understand ‘nu,’ ‘uh,’ and hand signals, etc. especially when you are already in tallis and tefillin.”

Shemtov told JTA that religious Jews should appreciate the efforts of travel authorities to facilitate their travel.

“We in the Jewish community are fortunate to live with an unprecedented level of personal liberty,” he said. “I hope everyone will appreciate that cooperation with authorities that are so sympathetic to our traditions is the least we can do in return.”

IDF Closes Eilat Airport to Arriving Planes

Thursday, August 8th, 2013

The IDF has ordered the immediate closure of the Eilat Airport to incoming flights but is allowing planes to leave.

The military did not explain the order except to say that the decision was made “following an evaluation of the situation.”

Updated: Emergency Declared at Ben-Gurion Airport

Thursday, July 11th, 2013

12:09 PM A Greek plane, earlier reported as a Jordanian and later as  an Egyptian private Misair airline plane,was  bound for Jordan and landed safely in Israel.

The pilot called out “Mayday” after the hydraulic system failed.

Egyptian Plane Safely Landed

Picture: Israel Bardugo

12:00PM A high level emergency has been declared at Ben-Gurion airport. MDA is currently at its highest emergency level. Emergency medical volunteers are being asked to come in.

What is known so far is that a plane with 170 passengers is having difficulty landing, after the pilot declared an emergency.

Emergency personnel have been called up to be prepared for any scenario.

Firetrucks and ambulances have been called in from Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Ramat Gan, and Rishon L’Tzion. The IAF dispatched two 669 emergency rescue helicopters to the area.

Ben_Gurion_Emergency_2

Minister Shai Piron Health Update

Friday, June 14th, 2013

Education Minister Shai Piron spent the night in Beilinson hospital after complaining of chest pains on his flight back to Israel with Prime Minister Netanyahu. He was rushed to the hospital as soon as the plane landed. A doctor on the flight took care of him until the plane landed.

IBA news reports that doctors at Beilinson report seeing no indications that Piron had a heart attack.

Wrapped in Plastic and Hilul HaShem

Monday, April 15th, 2013

There was an interesting blurb in last week’s Mishpacha about a p’sak (Halachic decision) by Rav Elyashiv.

When candidate Barack Obama visited Israel in 2008, he wanted to visit the Kotel and asked that he be given access in the early morning hours so as to avoid the crowds. The Kotel Rabbi, R’ Shumel Rabinowitz, felt that bringing a U.S. Presidential candidate, his entourage, and the attendant crush of media people would be disruptive to those who daven k’vosekin – praying at sunrise. So he asked R’ Elyashiv whether he should accommodate his request.

R’ Elyashiv said that candidate Obama should absolutely be allowed to visit the Kotel at his convenience. Since (then) Senator Obama represented the United States – a Malchus Shel Chesed (‘kingdom of kindness’) – he was deserving of the utmost respect.

Would that all of Jewry have this attitude. Unfortunately there are some of us who have a slightly different approach. While not really the same thing, I can’t help contrasting this attitude with what has to be the latest example of Judaism made to look stupid… all in the name of Torah observance.

There is a picture of a Haredi-looking individual in flight wrapped up in a plastic bag. This picture has gone viral… as has a video of some young people ridiculing it on an online TV program.

What people like this fellow have accomplished over the years is to create an atmosphere whereby their extremism in the cause of humra (stringency) has brought ridicule upon us. The humra of this generation is tznius. I need not go into how far some of these extremes have taken us into the area of ridicule. Just to mention one example – the time where the Haredi mayor of Beitar Illit was reprimanded because he forgot to photoshop his wife out a picture of a group of people surrounding a snowman they built!

The young pundits on this program thought he covered himself up in a plastic bag because he wanted to avoid contact with the women on the plane. That reaction was no doubt generated by constant barrage of ‘tznius extremism’ by extremist Haredim brought to public attention by the media. Not an unreasonable conclusion. But it was immediately made clear that that was not his motivation. He was a Kohen and sought to protect himself from tumah – spiritual contamination.

Although there are a few exceptions we no longer practice these laws. But Kohanim (those who descend from the priestly line of the first Kohen, the biblical Aaron) – do. A Kohen must avoid any contact that would make him spiritually unclean. In most cases this means avoiding corpses. There are various ways that they go about this. The laws are very complex. One of those ways is by avoiding being in the same room with a corpse or passing over a grave site. Tumah rises straight up in the open air (it does not spread sideways) and fills up any enclosed area.

This fellow probably feared that there was a corpse on board. (That is occasionally the case as many people who wish to be buried in Israel after they die are transported as cargo on board commercial flights). One of the ways a Kohen can be protected is by being in his own enclosure. That will prevent the tumah from entering and contaminating him spiritually. My guess is that this was his goal.

In a vacuum I have no problem with him doing that. But on a commercial fight where normal people are on board, this can only bring ridicule upon our people. It was not necessary for him to do that. There are better ways for a Kohen to avoid tumah. Not being a Kohen myself, I am not the one to advise him. But I don’t think there is a single Kohen who has ever wrapped himself up in a plastic bag. And they all take flights. They find ways which are normal to avoid a problem that is specific to them.

Obviously this fellow didn’t care what people said about him. Frankly neither do I. But I do care what people say about the Jewish people.

When a gadol says that we must honor a political leader in the U.S. because he represents the United States, that is a kiddush HaShem. When a Jew who appears to the world as the most religious among us acts like a fool that is a hilul HaShem. That this fellow doesn’t realize what he has done with his foolishness – or worse, doesn’t care – is why I constantly criticize it when it happens.

I wish I didn’t have to. But unfortunately this kind of behavior seems to be on the increase. Why is this so? I’ve said this before. The insularity in which they live breeds both ignorance of the outside world and contempt for it. In these circles non-Jews are at best tolerated. But they are looked down upon. Or worse seen as anti-Semites. The attitude I often hear them express about “goyim” is that they hate us anyway so why bother being decent to them?! They hide their contempt when they seek public benefits. The condescension to non-Jews is expressed only among themselves. Trouble is that it is not only wrong but only a ignoramus born of insularity would ever think that they can keep this attitude private.

So now once again, I am forced to disavow and protest that this fellow’s behavior very loudly. It has nothing to do with normative Jewish behavior. No matter what his motive was.

Visit Emes Ve-Emunah.

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