More than 100 Orthodox Jews who were praying before a flight were barred from boarding by German airline Lufthansa in mask dispute, report says
Orthodox Jewish passengers were barred from boarding a connecting Lufthansa flight from Frankfurt to Budapest.
Members of the group have accused the German airline of "antisemitic discrimination," Hamodia reported.
Lufthansa removed a "larger group" because some passengers repeatedly refused to wear masks.
A group of Orthodox Jewish men has accused the German airline Lufthansa of "antisemitic discrimination" after many were barred from boarding a connecting flight following a mask dispute, according to the Hebrew-language newspaper Hamodia.
More than 100 members were forbidden from taking a connecting flight from Frankfurt, Germany, to Budapest, Hungary, on Wednesday night, Hamodia reported.
The group, consisting of approximately 150 Orthodox Jewish men in total, traveled from New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport to Kerestir, Hungary, as part of an annual pilgrimage to commemorate the death of a famous rabbi.
German Law requires passengers to wear medical or FFP2 masks to travel, and, according to the group, all but a handful complied on the first leg of the journey from New York to Frankfurt.
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"One or two" did not wear masks, claimed passenger Nachman Kahana. Although Insider could not verify this, several other passengers supported the claim during conversations with Hamodia.
On Wednesday morning, per Hamodia, the group was praying as other passengers began boarding the flight. Lufthansa agents told the members of the Orthodox Jewish group that they would not be able to join those boarding due to "operational reasons," the newspaper said.
According to Kahana, a Lufthansa agent pointed out that he is Jewish. "They explicitly said that nobody who is dressed alike on that plane is going to board the Lufthansa plane to Budapest," he told Hamodia.
"They banned us because we are Jews. That's the only reason," Kahana alleged, per Hamodia.
Another member of the group, identified only as Yaniv, also leveled an allegation of "antisemitic discrimination."
He told Hamodia, "Why should they ban everyone for just one or two people not wearing masks?"
The group had to split up and travel to their destination in Hungary using different airlines and various routes, making their way there via Poland, Slovakia, and Austria, Hamodia reported.
In an email to Insider, Lufthansa confirmed that a "larger group of passengers" was not allowed to board the connecting flight.
"This happened in connection with the previous flight LH401 from New York to Frankfurt, where some of the passengers with a planned onward journey to Budapest had refused to wear masks — even after being asked to do so by the crew," said the airline's EMEA media spokesperson in the statement.
"As a general rule, Lufthansa is obliged to follow the legal requirements valid in Germany," the statement continued.
Lufthansa is investigating the events to clarify "the exact procedures and the background," the spokesperson added.
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