Safety apparently was not a consideration for flying to Israel since the plane could have reached JFK in the same amount of time.
The Boeing 747-400 airliner, took off at 11:30 A.M. from Ben Gurion International Airport. Shortly after reaching the Atlantic Ocean, about 2300 miles northwest of Spain, the pilot turned off one of the plane's four engines due to a technical malfunction.
But instead of making an emergency landing, the pilot turned the airplane back. The passengers and crew landed safely at Ben Gurion Airport five hours later. El Al also may have considered it more practical and efficient to repair the engine in Israel and reload the passengers on another airplane.