Sunday, August 12, 2012

The Eyes Have It

GlassesI have the privilege of hanging out on FB with some amazing women bloggers. I am learning a huge amount because they share so generously.

One of our members blogs for The Times of Israel, and she brought this particular bit of absurdity to my attention:

An Ultra-Orthodox group in Israel is developing a product that causes men's eyesight to become blurry, preventing them from seeing immodestly dressed women.

These are stickers you put on your glasses (or on plain glass lenses if you are blessed with good eyesight) that prevent you from seeing more than a few metres ahead. Any immodest person in your vicinity dissolves into an indistinct blob, and all is well.

Setting aside the question of driving safely wearing these things (presumably they have another pair for driving, and just hope that there won't be any immodest billboards along the way - and many in Ultra-Orthodox neighbourhoods don't drive anyway), I think it's a fabulous idea.

The Ultra-Orthodox (or haredim, as they are called in Hebrew - ironically, it means Quaker) in Israel have a long history of employing violence to in their attempt to make the entire country fit their notion of Judaism. They will throw stones and dirty diapers at fellow Jews, force women to walk on the other side of the sidewalk from men and segregate buses. The difference between them and the Taliban diminishes day by day.

Of course most Orthodox people, and even most Ultra-Orthodox people, do not use violence in their day-to-day dealings with others. Many are horrified and ashamed to be associated with the Jewish Taliban, and some are courageous enough to speak out against them. They are risking excommunication and social shunning, no less effective in their closed society than in a Hutterite colony. It is easy for those of us on the outside to say what kind of stand they should take, but being expelled from the only home you have ever known is a stiff price to pay for speaking out.

This is why I am so much in favour of these blurry stickers. Not only will they prevent these guys from seeing immodestly dressed women on billboards and such, they should also do quite a number on their aim with a rock or a dirty diaper. I'm sure all women in Ultra-Orthodox neighbourhoods feel much safer now.

What do you think?


  1. 1) Only Manitobans know what Hutterites are. (Well, maybe some people in Saskatchewan too.) :)

    2) I've always heard "Chareidi" translated as "one who trembles." I think Quakers is hilarious, but I wonder if real Quakers want to be associated with people who throw rocks, as they are pacifists.

    Brilliant post! I think we should lead a group of immodestly dressed women dancing through the streets of Ma'alot Dafna just to make sure they work!

  2. Thanks! Yeah, maybe I should have put in a Wikipedia link for Hutterite. But if anybody really is baffled despite the context, they can look it up ;-). Here, I'll put it in the comments ;-).


  4. Great post - still makes me sad to see the neuroses that are created when a group of people is so narrow it can't bear to be around people who aren't exactly like it. But I loved your take - you're right! their ability to throw stones and diapers will suffer... :)


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