So are Haredi Jews in London jealous of their Muslim counterparts in Saudi Arabia?
Leaders of the ultra-Orthodox Belz sect in north London wrote to parents saying “no child will be allowed to learn in our school” if their mother drives.
Women driving “goes against the laws of modesty within our society”, it said.
What’s so immodest about driving? I drive when I have access to a car, and I think I do it pretty damn modestly. I’ll admit it does enable me to get from point A to point B more quickly than other forms of movement, but what’s immodest about that? Unless “modesty” means being boxed up all the time. Are women of the Belz sect in north London forbidden to leave the house?
If they are, isn’t that a crime? Isn’t it a crime to confine people by force?
The letter, which was signed from the “spiritual management” of Belz institutions, said: “There has been an increase in incidences of mothers of our students who have begun driving cars, something that goes against the laws of modesty within our society.”
This had led to “a lot of exasperation among other parents”, it said.
The group’s leader in Israel, Rabbi Yissachar Dov Rokeach, had advised that “if a woman is driving a car, she cannot send her children to be educated in Belz institutions”, it said.
Well that doesn’t sound like much of a loss, does it. Presumably her daughters would be learning that they have to hide themselves for the sake of “modesty,” while their sons would be learning that they don’t.
The Jewish Chronicle, which first reported the story, said that while many Hasidic women do not drive, this is thought to be the first formal declaration against the practice in the UK.
Dina Brawer, UK Ambassador of the Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance, said the rule was “stupid and impractical” and could not work.
Responding to the letter, Education Secretary and Minister for Women and Equalities, Nicky Morgan, said: “This is completely unacceptable in modern Britain.
“If schools do not actively promote the principle of respect for other people they are breaching the independent school standards.
“Where we are made aware of such breaches we will investigate and take any necessary action to address the situation.”
Good. I apologize for saying it of a Tory minister, but I think that’s appropriate. Ordering women not to drive is grotesque.