Summery HCJ 721/94 El-Al Israel Airlines Ltd (30/11/1994): Supreme Court rejects a petition against a decision of a national labor court to reject an appeal of a decision of a regional labor court to recognize an employee’s life partner as his “spouse” in the matter of a taxi right

HCJ 721/94 El-Al Israel Airlines Ltd v. Danielowitz, IsrSC 48(5) 749 (1994)

HCJ 721/94

El-Al Israel Airlines Ltd


1. Jonathan Danielowitz

2. National Labour Court

The Supreme Court sitting as the High Court of Justice

[30 November 1994]

Before Vice-President A. Barak and Justices Y. Kedmi, D. Dorner

Petition to the Supreme Court sitting as the High Court of Justice.

Facts: The first respondent, who is employed by El-Al as a flight attendant, has a stable relationship with another man. Under a collective agreement, El-Al gives every permanent employee a free aeroplane ticket, every year, for that employee and his/her spouse (husband or wife). Under a collective arrangement, a free ticket is also given to a companion recognized publicly as the employee’s husband/wife. The first respondent asked El-Al to give him a free ticket for his companion, but his request was denied.

Held: (Majority opinion — Vice-President A. Barak, Justice D. Dorner) Not giving the respondent a free ticket for his same-sex companion amounted to discrimination, since a distinction on the basis of the difference between a heterosexual and a homosexual relationship is unjustified in the context of employee benefits.

(Minority opinion — Justice Y. Kedmi) Linguistically, only a heterosexual couple can be called a ‘couple’; the concept of the ‘couple’ linguistically only applies to an union of male and female that can, conceptually, have children. Therefore a distinction between a same-sex companion and an opposite-sex companion is a distinction between persons who are fundamentally unequal, and this does not amount to discrimination.

Petition denied, by majority opinion (Vice-President M. Shamgar and Justice D. Dorner), Justice Y. Kedmi dissenting.

For the petitioner — Y. Winder, A. Ben-Israel

For the first respondent — S. Donevitz, O. Kalmaro

30 November 1994.

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