The latest necessity for six-year-old Jewish girls is apparently modest dress, at least according to state funded modern orthodox schools. I’m not quite sure who it is that would be offended by the sight of a 6 year old wearing a T shirt but clearly someone was offended enough to ensure that it never happens on their watch. Does this mean that up until now 6 year old girls at state funded orthodox schools have been dressing immodestly?

I can’t get over this concept of modest dress for a 6 year old. Exactly what is it about a six-year-old girl going to school in ‘regular’ clothes that is immodest? Can someone please step in and explain to a normal person why it is absolutely essential for certain men to be kept away from 50% of the population for fear that they might…I don’t know, think a sexual thought? Is that the fear that has forced these little girls to wear different clothing to other little girls?

But that’s not all…

The revelation that six-year-old girls have been dressing immodestly to school since 1948 comes in the wake of 4 women being arrested at the Kotel for daring to put on tallit. Those EVIL women I am sure that they are suffering at the hands of the police for their evil crime and over the moon that the boys in blue were able to spend their time dealing with this crime instead of doing something, you know, useful!

These two incidents serve to hi-light a more general tension which is sweeping through the country right now, especially over what compromise is to replace the now defunct Tal Law. In a country that has seen rioting in Bet Shemesh between Ultra Orthodox and well…regular orthodox Jews it is certainly fair to say that there isn’t a week that goes by without some new ugliness that comes from an extreme interpretation of religion and I resent it!

Let me be clear. the women of the wall were not novices who innocently put on tallit at the Kotel, I believe that they knew exactly what they were doing when they put on these ‘forbidden garments’ and as a consequence of their actions they were arrested and I salute them for it. Yet even as I salute them I am still in a state of shock that we have gotten to the point where we are so petrified of rioting at the hands of anti Zionist, non tax paying, draft dodging nutters that we are actually arresting women for wearing tallit. Or is there another reason? Please anyone tell me that there is a really good reason that these women needed to be arrested for their actions, please tell me what they did that was soo bad!

These four women have hi-lighted the extent to which we, the people of Israel, have allowed our religion to get so out of hand. Perhaps religion and God are perfect but men (and women) certainly aren’t. As the interpretation of Jewish law becomes stricter and stricter so the most nonsensical elements have seeped into the laws of the state. The arrests of these brave women should serve as (yet another) wake up call to all of us. But of course they won’t.

We live in a world where Gay rights are top of the agenda but in a country where 20,000 citizens feel the need to leave the country every year in order to avoid the stranglehold that the rabbinate has over this fundamental right that should be open to every Israeli citizen. A friend of mine at work had to get married in Eastern Europe because her husband was declared to be a non Jew (his service in Paratroopers was of course irrelevant), she is by no means the only one to be made to feel outcast in her own country by a rabbinate that has neither the wit nor the inclination to understand that every meeting it has with secular Israelis pushes them further and further away from Judaism.

The only people who can do anything about this are our politicians and they seem to be the most insistent that there is no problem at all. There was a brief moment of hope when Kadima entered into the government. For a while there it looked like we might find real solutions to real problems but naturally that collapsed amongst petty squabbling.

While the biggest parties in the Knesset argue with one another it is the smaller special interest parties who reap the rewards. Now is the time for real leadership yet none is forthcoming. It’s wonderful that Bibi prefaces every speech he makes with words about Iran but perhaps he should look a little closer to home for there are domestic enemies gaining in strength on his watch.

It’s about time someone stood up for sanity, risked the taking the bottle from the baby and actually made some moves towards laying down the law and stopping the onward march of persecution at the hands of religious numpties before Israel becomes Pakistan!

 

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