Israeli social media was ablaze Monday morning after a man who had put on tefillin at Ben Gurion Airport posted footage of a woman laughing loudly at him and the Chabad Chassid who was helping him lay tefillin. The woman is seen laughing loudly and insulting the two men, demanding that they “move because you are bothering me,” and asking “why are you doing this here, there are people here, this is a public place.”
The victim of the attack was Gad Kaufman, a traditional Israeli who was on his way abroad on a business trip. He took advantage of a Chabad booth in the departure terminal of the airport, but as he was doing so the woman is seen sidling up to Kaufman and the man who was helping him. Several passerby are seen asking her to quiet down, but her reaction was just to laugh and yell louder.
“I was asked politely by a Chabad shliach if I was interested in putting on tefillin, and I responded positively,” Kaufman wrote in the post. “The woman then appeared and began screeching and interfering. It is so unfortunate that Jews here are persecuted by the ‘leftist bohemian types.’ If I were a Muslim or Christian would this behavior be seen as legitimate,” Kaufman asked rhetorically.
Asking for a reaction, Kaufman received hundreds of comments within just a few minutes of posting the footage, nearly all panning her behavior. The response varied from praise for the behavior of the Chassid and Kaufman – who refrained from attacking the woman with a well-deserved riposte – to comments on the woman’s behavior, with several pointing out her “primitive” behavior.
Ben Gurion airport has not yet commented on the incident. It should be noted that there is a large Chabad “desk” in the departure terminal, where travelers are able to not only put on tefillin, but to obtain refreshments, as well as sefarim and religious literature for use on their flights.