Israeli removed from Vienna-TLV flight for unruly behavior

Cinematographer says he was provoked by Muslim flight attendant who singled him out because he was 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)

An Israeli passenger on a flight from Austria to Israel was taken off the plane for unruly behavior and for mistreating a flight attendant this week.

Yossi Davidov, a cinematographer, was removed from the plane along with three photographers with whom he was traveling from Vienna to Tel Aviv on an Austrian Airlines flight. He was arrested in Vienna and swiftly released, with help by the head of the Bucharian Jewish community in Vienna, after paying a 100 euro fine.

Davidov said Saturday that his behavior was provoked by a Muslim flight attendant who singled him out because he was Jewish.

Davidov is the brother of Chai and Ronen Davidov, who wrote a successful Channel 1 sitcom in which he serves as inspiration for one of the characters. He was in Vienna to film an event for the local Bucharian community there.

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

He insisted on speaking in Hebrew and claimed he did not understand any other languages. Upon being handcuffed, he started speaking in English.

“I don’t understand you,” Davidov told the police officers who were called aboard to remove him, in heavily-accented English. He then yelled some obscenities in Hebrew before reverting back to English, telling them: “You killed six million Jews, do you wanna kill another one?”

The incident delayed takeoff by more than an hour. The captain explained that a rowdy passenger was delaying the departure and apologized to them. One Israeli passenger told Ynet: “I felt real shame when they said on the PA system an Israeli is misbehaving on the plane.”

Davidov claims he and his colleagues were discriminated against by a Muslim flight attendant after she noticed they were Jews.

“We happened upon a Muslim stewardess who decided to abuse us. I told her: ‘Why do you not weigh anyone’s carry-on luggage but you weigh mine? To what degree can you abuse a person?’ and she said: ‘I learnt it from you people.’ At this point, I lost it,” he told Channel 2 in a clip shown on Saturday evening.

Davidov’s attorney, Reuven Laviav, said: “My client went to film an event in the Bucharian community in Vienna. On the night of the 12th he called me and said he was arrested along with three other cinematographers. 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 was traveling with cameras costing tens of thousands of dollars and he always takes them to the cabin. On this plane, they wouldn’t let him and so he got upset.”

Laviav added that Davidov comes “from a famous family in the [TV] industry and he expressed regret over the whole thing. He was taken for interrogation and charged with assaulting a police officer and improper conduct on the plane. After the head of the Bucharian community in Vienna intervened, [Davidov] was released.”

On Saturday, Laviav told Channel 2 that “the fact he was released so swiftly with only a minor fine” shows that this incident was not very serious.

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