Israeli kicked off Vienna flight sorry for unruly behavior

Cinematographer maintains Muslim flight attendant bullied him for being Jewish

Israeli Yossi Davidov arguing with police officers on Austrian Airlines flight OS859 in Vienna, June 16, 2015. (Screen capture)
Israeli Yossi Davidov arguing with police officers on Austrian Airlines flight OS859 in Vienna, June 16, 2015. (Screen capture)

The Israeli passenger kicked off a flight from Austria to Israel last week for unruly behavior and for mistreating a flight attendant apologized for his behavior on Sunday, but maintained he was singled out for being a Jew.

Yossi Davidov, a cinematographer, told Channel 2 that although a Muslim flight attendant on the Austrian Airlines flight provoked him by discriminating against him, he regretted his disproportionate response that led to his arrest.

The altercation, caught on video by a passenger, began when Davidov wanted to bring cameras aboard the flight as a carry-on. Flight attendants maintained the equipment was too heavy for the passenger cabin. Davidov then told them, in Hebrew: “You don’t like us because we’re Jews.”

Davidov, along with three companions, proceeded to get on the plane, despite being told they could not board with their equipment. When the flight attendant approached Davidov, he asked her why she hadn’t weighed the bag of anyone else.

According to Davidov, the flight attendant responded by saying, “‘I learned it from you people.”

“At this point, I lost it,” Davidov said.

He yelled some obscenities in Hebrew before switching to English, telling the crew, “You killed six million Jews. Do you want to kill another one?

“My response was exaggerated and I apologize for that,” he said in Sunday’s interview. “But I do want everyone to know the truth,” he added.

The incident delayed takeoff by more than an hour. The flight captain, in an announcement to the passengers apologizing for the delay, explained that a rowdy passenger was delaying the departure.

Davidov was escorted off the plane in handcuffs by police, interrogated, and charged with assaulting a police officer and with improper conduct on the plane. He was released several hours later, after paying a fine of 100 euros ($113).

In an earlier Channel 2 report, Davidov’s attorney Reuven Laviav said that while he did not condone his client’s behavior, he agreed that the altercation likely stemmed from discrimination.

“I don’t justify him, but when he went on the plane there was a Muslim stewardess with a headscarf and it seems that because she saw him with a Star of David chain she decided to treat him badly,” he continued.

According to the report, Austrian Airlines called the incident “regrettable” and maintained the Davidov was asked not to board the plane with his equipment, since the overhead compartments were full.

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