The cabin crew on the Delta flight out of John F. Kennedy Airport tried to find seats for the men, but were met with refusal by other passengers, some of whom who took a dim view of the reasoning behind the request.
The incident took place on Delta flight 468 on 20 December, the Israeli publication The Times of Israel reports. An American passenger ultimately switched seats with the men.
This is the third widely reported incident in the last few months in which ultra-Orthodox Jewish men have delayed a flight by asking to be segregated from women.
On the eve of the Jewish festival Rosh Hashana in October, a flight, also between New York and Tel Aviv, was delayed by an hour after a group of Haredim refused to sit next to women.
In this case, passengers ultimately left the plane before take-off.
A month earlier in September an El Al flight descended into an “11-hour long nightmare” (external - login to view) after a group of Haredi Jewish passengers refused to sit next to women.
In the UK, the ultra-Orthadox Jewish community in Stamford Hill, north London, was recently criticised after signs requesting women to walk on a certain side of the street were erected (external - login to view), promoting segregation for a Torah parade.
Groups of ultra-Orthodox Jewish men keep delaying flights by refusing to sit next to women - World - News - The Independent (external - login to view)