Three Israelis arrested after fracas on plane in Moldova
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Three Israelis arrested after fracas on plane in Moldova

Ultra-Orthodox men returning from pilgrimage in Uman, Ukraine, fought with security forces and screamed ‘Nazi’ while boarding flight to Tel Aviv

Israelis argue with security staff on a flight about to take off from Moldova. (Video screen-grab)
Israelis argue with security staff on a flight about to take off from Moldova. (Video screen-grab)

Three Israelis are under house arrest in Moldova after being arrested while boarding a plane bound for Tel Aviv, Channel 13 reported on Monday.

The three were returning to Israel after spending the Rosh Hashanah holiday in Uman, Ukraine, at the grave of Rebbe Nachman of Breslau.

While boarding a connecting flight in Chișinău, a flight attendant asked the youngest of the group, a 17-year-old man, to stop smoking. The flight attendant said that another passenger interrupted the conversation and physically attacked her.

A partial video of the incident broadcast by Channel 13 showed passengers scuffling with security personnel on the aircraft and screaming “Nazi, Nazi.”

The teenager was arrested along with his older brother, Nathan Shamai, and Shamai’s wife, who was not named in the report. The three were released to house arrest at the home of the country’s chief rabbi after he intervened in their case.

Disagreeing with the flight attendant’s retelling of the incident, Shamai told Channel 13 that after his brother was refused entry to the plane, he helped him talk to the security personnel because he did not know English.

“Suddenly the police came and arrested us violently and forcefully [and] put us in a detention cell for almost 30 hours,” he said, alleging that he was forced to sleep on a “bed of stone” and use a “cesspool” for a toilet.

JTA contributed to this report.

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