Jerusalem – Israeli Knesset Member Wants To Ban The Burka

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    FileJerusalem – If a Knesset member has her way, Israel will soon follow in Belgium’s footsteps and ban the burka.

    Last month, Belgium’s lower house of parliament backed a bill to ban face-covering clothing in public. Now, Kadima’s Marina Solodkin has resolved to introduce similar legislation to the Knesset, directed at Muslim women and members of a tiny Charedi cult in Beit Shemesh who have begun covering their faces.

    For precedent she does not cite the Belgians but a political force rarely held up in Israel as an inspiration – the Soviets.

    “As someone brought up in the Former Soviet Union, I know how important it is for women not to cover their faces because in the 1920s the Soviet government forbade central Asian women from covering their faces,” she said.

    Ms Solodkin, an MK for 14 years, claims this was a turning-point for women in central Asia, who became empowered in education and in the workplace. She believes it could have a similar effect on Israeli Arab women.

    Ms Solodkin says her proposal is necessary because many women do not want to cover their faces, but are forced to by male family members. Since women find it so hard to resist the pressure, “it has to be the state for its citizens.

    “People say it’s what women want,” she added, “but people said that in China when women bound their feet and in India when they went to burn themselves together with their husbands.”

    Arab leaders say that Ms Solodkin is not trying to address women’s status but rather trying to get herself in to the public eye, riding a wave of anti-Arab sentiment.

    Mohammed Zeidan, director of the Arab Association for Human Rights, said that she has honed in on a rare practice among Israeli Arabs – he claimed that only one per cent of women wear the burka and use it “for political benefit”.

    “If they [politicians] want to enhance the rights of Arab women they should concentrate on economic advancement,” he said.

    In the Jewish community, women’s groups asked whether the proposed ban would really serve women’s interests. Zipi Amiri, spokeswoman for Wizo, said that while her organisation does not get involved in political lobbying for or against bills, “on a theoretical level” they oppose it. Women “have the right to decide for themselves on their mode of dress,” she said.

    But if Ms Solodkin is acting, as her critics claim, to gain popularity, there is some indication her plan may backfire. While certain political measures aimed at the Arab community do prove popular, there is evidence that Jewish Israelis draw the line at legislation that interferes with religious practice.

    In November, Switzerland voted in a referendum to ban the building of mosque minarets. But while in the Swiss referendum 57.5 per cent of voters were for banning minarets and just 42.5 per cent against, a poll by Keevoon Research showed that just 28 per cent of Israeli Jews would support a similar ban, with 43 per cent against. Opposition was strongest among a demographic that usually embraces anti-Arab measures – voters of right-wing parties.

    Keevoon’s CEO Mitchell Barak said that this indicates that the proposed burka ban will fail to impress Israelis.

    If, however, the proposed ban does progress, experts predict that it could have serious implications for Israeli-Arab relations.

    “It would cause further deep friction in relations with Palestinians and the Arab world,” said Tel Aviv University political scientist Dani Koren.

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    22 COMMENTS

      • Because whiteing out the faces of women is good enough (I am being sarcastic; the whiteing out of women’s faces is just as if not more dehumanizing)

    1. MK Solodkin is mamash an idiot for proposing a law which will be invoked by anti-semitim all over the world to enact their own limitations on a variety of yiddeshe practices that offend their cultural sensitivities from men wearing peyos, shtreimels and bekeshas, to women wearing sheitels and then they will move on to banning kosher shechita, etc. Ms. Solodkin should publicly appologize to the muslim population of EY and the chareidi women who dress in accordance with Islamic law.

      • Common sense, a person can’t walk around the way the “thing” in the picture is. How do peyos and streimel have an impact on security or normalcy? People can wear their hair or hats any way they want to.

        • Trust me…an antisemite will grasp at ANY excuse to make life difficult for yiddin and cite the precedent in EY to support their actions. I can think of a dozen ways in which anti-semitic government officials could make life difficult for yiddin and invoke “security concerns”. For example, banning tefillin on airplane carry on luggage or in prisons, requiring everyone to remove their hats/scarves etc. for drivers’ license photos, etc. You really live in a fairly land if you believe that policies are made or enforced on an objective basis without any prejudice.

      • Apparently, you don’t like feminists. Fine, that’s your right. But by using such a term, you demean the horrors that survivors like my parents went through at the hands of the actual Nazis, yimach shmam, and you disgrace the memory of my murdered relatives and the relatives of many of the readers of VIN. There is absolutely nothing that feminists have done that approach the abominations that were carried out by the Nazis, yimach shmam, so take 5 seconds of your time and come up with another derogatory term.

          • It’s irrelevant whether I like it or not. The issue is that you insulted a vast majority of survivors and children of survivors by using the term “feminazi”—as if the two are even remotely the same. The Nazis MURDERED most of my family. Calling people with whom you disagree “Nazis” cheapens the horror of the term. These were evil monsters!

    2. This law would be stupid, cruel and counterproductive. How quickly we Jews forget that we were (and still are) guests in other peoples’ lands for so long. The ugliest thing in the world is an oppressed person who turns oppressor as soon as he has the power – it proves suffering meaningless, it suggests we will never learn. Freedom of religion is a cornerstone of all the freedoms. The society that doesn’t let women cover their hair, their face, or whatever, is the same society which will force people to dress in togas, or loincloths, or undressed; or force every virgin to sleep with the leader – or anything. When will people finally see that their sense of modesty and dignity and beauty is only respected and protected when everyone’s is?! Woe unto our people if we forget the lessons of our exile! Shame on you brutes who act like your tormentors! What right will you have to complain of your religion’s persecution when you treat your minority population’s no differently?! The crusaders’ descendants brought civil liberties to the world, and you, their victims’ inheritors, aspire to be worse than them, to behave like the lowliest among them.

      • What possible objection could anyone have to people walking naked in the street if they want to? You get my point, of course.
        But, seriously, I am with you all the way on this one. Freedom of religion, practice and culture (so long as it does not impinge on other’s similar freedoms) is one of the fundamental human rights.
        And also today the burka, tomorrow the shtreimel and the beard and the tichel and quite possibly in due course long sleeves and dresses and who knows what else? Once you start on that slippery slope who knows where it will end.
        There is a fascinating Malbim on Yeshaya Ch. 1, near the end of the chapter, which I commend to your study

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