Apparently, it’s not just Saudi clerics who ban women from operating vehicles. An ultra-orthodox Israeli rabbi has just prohibited females from riding bicycles, as well.
The Jewish cleric of the Jerusalem neighborhood of Nahloat has banned girls ages 5 and older from riding bicycles, deeming the activity as “provocative.”
The rabbi said riding bicycles could “cause serious damage to their modesty” and the seats on the vehicles caused girls to sit in a “provocative” way, according to an Israeli news website.
“We inform parents that they are obligated to forbid their daughters from age 5 and up from acting in this illegitimate way,” the controversial decree stated.
The rabbi who issued the draconian edict is part of the ultra-Orthodox Haredi sect of Judaism that rejects modernism. He is also a disappointing reminder of the double-standards and discrimination that exists hand to hand with religious radicalism.
And it’s not just bicycles they find damaging to the female population. In December 2015, Rabbi Aviezer Peletz said the “spiritual damage” to women in the city of Bnei Brak, who sought higher education, would be more damaging than the Holocaust.
“The furnaces of this generation are burning more than the furnaces of Auschwitz, more than the cellars of the inquisition with all their tortures, these are spiritual furnaces,” said Peletz, during a simmering debate in the Haredi community over the Education Ministry’s efforts to stop a quota system limiting admissions of Sephardic girls to secondary schools.
The Israeli public petitioned the country’s national airline, El Al, to “stop the bullying, intimidation and discrimination against women” on its planes, when some Jewish conservatives refused to be seated next to women who weren’t part of their immediate family. And the seating discrimination is not just limited to aerial vehicles but extends to automobiles as well, where women are forced to ride at the back of the buses.
At one point, the Orthodox communities even demanded separate cars for men and women on Jerusalem’s light railway, but the suggestion was shot down by the government.