Friday, January 04, 2008

What if...

...the Cheredi were in charge of Israel - completely in charge?

Would it be things like this?

Thirty Days in Iran's Worst Prison
Interview: Zarah Ghahramani, an Iranian student, was sent to Evin prison for exposing her head in public in 2001. Seven years later, she talks about what happened next.
By Kiera Butler Mother Jones online January 4, 2008

...In autumn of 2001, 20-year-old college student Zarah Ghahramani broke the law by pulling her headscarf back a few inches on the streets of Tehran. Her crime didn't go unnoticed—she was picked up by the police and hauled off to spend 30 grueling days in Iran's infamous Evin prison. There she endured interrogations, beatings, and solitary confinement. At the end of her sentence, the authorities dropped her off in a distant suburb and left her to find her way back to her home—and to figure out how to readjust to life outside prison walls.

The "modesty police," that is. You know, like the ones we have here.

In Kiryat Joel, you may remember seeing in the news not too long ago - a couple had their tires slashed, their home vandalized (if I recall correctly) and were threatened by a bunch of cheredi men in their community because the woman wore - wait for it - a long denim skirt. And I seem to recall another report that said, Heaven forbid, she wore a shirt that was actually her size.

Said the New York Times:

According to the police, Mrs. Greenberg said she was singled out because she chose to wear denim skirts, long, natural-looking wigs made of human hair, and stockings without a visible seam — traditionally worn because they show that women’s legs are not bare.

The incidents offered a rare glimpse into the strict social dynamics that govern life in this village of 20,000 people, an hour from Manhattan and not far from West Point. It is a place where television and the Internet are forbidden and women do not drive, restrictions intended to provide a haven from the temptations of the outside world.

...According to the police, leaflets calling the couple immoral and threatening them with expulsion were scattered in the streets and delivered to their home.

In September, the tires of their Chevrolet Impala were slashed and the warning “Get out, defiled person” was slathered in Yiddish in white paint on a window of their Mazda CX-7.

...Kiryas Joel is no stranger to social discord and outbursts of violence. Since its inception in the 1970s, residents considered to be flouting the village’s stringent rules have been victims of vandalism, beatings and arson, as well as expulsion.

Remember, now - Kiryas Joel is an incorporated American City, meaning that they are legally required to not discriminate against anyone on the basis of their race or religion or practice. And yet...

...That is when the “vaad hatznius,” the rabbinically appointed modesty committee that enforces the village’s rules of behavior and appearance, intervenes.

Intervenes - doesn't that sound benevolent? But it's not the reality of the situation. The Cheredi men chose to use violence.

So what would have happened if the Cheredi actually had legal powers to enforce their codes on the populace against their will? Would the woman have been publicly flogged? Jailed? Involuntarily committed to a mental institution?

I shudder to think of what would happen to normal people if these self-proclaimed arbiters of other people's relationship with Hashem had control of the entire country. No just "moving away" when some nut slashes your tires or decides your wife shouldn't be permitted to operate an automobile.

By the way, doesn't that sound familiar, class? Oh, yes. Now I remember - Saudi Arabia. It is illegal there, too, for women to drive.

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