The Israeli airline El Al will operate two flights this coming Shabbat, October 14, on wide-body Boeing 787 aircraft, to the US and the Far East, to return to Israel reservists who received Order 8 and people whose service is essential.
Order 8 is an immediate enlistment order for IDF reserve soldiers. It is activated in exceptional cases such as the outbreak of war or when there is an immediate need for manpower for operations essential to the security of the state. Section 8 of the Reserve Service Law gives the defense minister the authority to mobilize reserves in emergency circumstances and when state security requires this, using Order 8, with the approval of the government or, if it is not possible to obtain its approval due to the urgency of the matter, with the approval of the Prime Minister.
The flights are operated at cost and not for profit and are jointly financed by El Al and large financial institutions in the United States.
El Al has not flown on Shabbat since 1982 and preserved this status quo for many decades. The flights this Shabbat are defined as “pikuach nefesh” (preventing threat to life) and received rabbinic approval.
The airline released a statement saying, “El Al continues its efforts to preserve the air bridge to and from the State of Israel, as well as to return home as many Israelis as possible. We will continue this mandatory mission as long as necessary.”