This will feel a little cold

Meanwhile, in Jerusalem, the move to erase women wanders even deeper into Bizarroland.

The controversial exclusion of women from various settings in Israel because of pressure from ultra-Orthodox Jewish leaders reached a new level this week with a major conference on gynecological advances that is permitting only males to address the audience.

Yes you read that right. A major conference on advances in medical management of women’s plumbing excluded women. Well what’s it got to do with them, after all? If they don’t want a man’s arm up them, they shouldn’t have been born with female plumbing. If they don’t want men and only men telling them what’s what about their plumbing, they should…um…well they should sit down and shut up.

Women are allowed in the audience, in a section separate from men.

Ah, that’s nice. That’s very generous.

As far as Puah is concerned, it operates on a strictly kosher basis, as required by the ultra-Orthodox rabbinate. While there are women on its board of directors, its public face is strictly male, and the two sexes are not allowed to mix at its events.

Because the rabbinate is strictly male, because it always was strictly male, so it’s not about to change now, is it, so it says the public face has to be strictly male too, because it always has been, because let’s face it, women are dirty and weak and whoreish and stupid and treacherous, so obviously they can’t be part of the public face and they can’t mix with men and get dirty weak whoreishness all over them.



  1. inflection says

    Did you copy the blockquote from The Globe and Mail? Because if you did, it hijacked your paste. It’s showing in the excerpt blurb on the freethoughtblogs front page for this article.

  2. grumpyoldfart says

    Of course the Jewish hoi-poloi are protesting vigorously, and the Government is doing all it can to stop the discrimination.
    [or maybe not]

  3. Guy says

    No, the government is NOT doing what it should. Because, you see, there are orthodox Jewish representatives that are part of the current governments parliamentary coalition. As a consequence, human rights are strictly optional, and moral relativism rules.
    Secular, humanistic worldviews are not easy to promote in a state that is still trying to work through its definition as being a “Jewish Democracy”. And as a home to the JEWISH people, it’s not easy to separate the name and history of the people from the 3000 year old religion with it’s mix of wisdom, misogyny and bigotry. Oh, if only we had the establishment clause over here!

  4. crowepps says

    In an interesting development, the Haredi who are insistent that women should disappear from public view and never be heard in public are simultaneously objecting vehemently to a cult of women who are disappearing from public view and who refuse to speak to men at all. The women wrap themselves in layers of shawls or veils when in public. There is a suspicion that some of the Haredi alarm is caused by the women insisting on staying home instead of getting jobs to support their husbands, and insisting they will only have sex during the few days a month they’re fertile, and refusing to have sex if they’re already pregnant. Funny how when some people get what they said they wanted they’re still unhappy —

  5. Carlie says

    Warm water and plastic speculum. Doesn’t feel cold at all. Or so I’m told.

    My first thought on reading the OP was to wish that they be required to have a panel discussion called “Comfort levels in varying designs of specumums, a first-hand report”, so either they have women on the panel, or…

  6. unbound says

    I was going to point out what Guy (#7) said. It is first and foremost a religious country…democracy is only allowed to come out on top where Jewish religious leaders are quiet. To my knowledge groups like Reform Judaism is a response to being in the US and UK, I don’t think those concepts have made much headway in Israel.

  7. says

    My feeling towards this is similar to my feelings about Afghanistan: don’t we spend a ton of money over there? Can’t we just purchase some basic decency, if nothing else?

  8. says

    While the Israeli government is not (yet) doing enough, this issue finally seems to be coming to a boil. This has been simmering near the surface for a long time, what with Israel being a mostly secular and progressive country. A good number of Israelis have been quietly resentful of the privileges enjoyed by, and abuses pepetrated by the Haredim for quite some time. My wife, who is ethnically Jewish, took one of those free trips to Israel given to young Jews about a decade or so ago, and came back with, erm, quite an impression of that segment of Israeli society, and she is certainly not alone.

    The Israeli leadership have been turning a blind eye to this simmering issue for a long-ass time — those secular forces who oppose the privileges/abuses of the Haredim are not inclined to riot or throw stones if you cross them, after all — but there are finally some indications that the political calculus is changing. The widespread publication of this very story is another example of that.

    Fingers crossed, but if the momentum keeps up, the days may be numbered of the Haredim being able to maintain a government-subsidized enclave that they can run in whatever ruthlessly misogynistic fashion they see fit. Even for Israelis who for whatever reason aren’t particularly moved by the misogyny aspect are understandably resentful of that the government uniquely exempts the Haredim from military service and pays for their (useless) education. And even for those moderate religious Israelis who tend to be sympathetic to the Haredim, having a rather distorted vision of the “virtues” of piety, well, let’s just say that the recent widely publicized story about old men spitting on an 8-year-old girl for only dressing with Orthodox modesty(not ultra-Orthodox, for shame!), that kind of bullshit tends to get people’s attention.

    Fingers crossed… fingers crossed.

  9. Guy says

    @James I don’t mean to dampen hopes, but around here the separation of religion and state is considered a blasphemous betrayal akin to treason by the religious, and a hedonistic westernized betrayal of Jewish history and culture by the religious AND many seculars!
    There are 2 political parties here for a secular government- one is considered “anti-israeli arab lovers” and has 3 (out of 120) seats in parliament, and one didn’t get enough votes to get any seats. Regarding the “momentum”: come next elections, all bets are that the Israelis will come under a barrage of fear-mongering propaganda (Iran, Hamas, etc.) from the political right, which will scare most to vote right-wing again, and this is an automatic entry ticket for the ultra/super/gamma-orthodox parties into the coalition. Be assured that THEIR voters are very, very loyal. Religiously loyal, one might say. Frustrating….

  10. Aquaria says

    Regarding the “momentum”: come next elections, all bets are that the Israelis will come under a barrage of fear-mongering propaganda (Iran, Hamas, etc.) from the political right, which will scare most to vote right-wing again, and this is an automatic entry ticket for the ultra/super/gamma-orthodox parties into the coalition. Be assured that THEIR voters are very, very loyal. Religiously loyal, one might say. Frustrating….

    Isn’t it amazing how similar they sound to the GOP?

    Well, it is the way of the right wing, after all. Not really a surprise.

  11. says

    Oh, this religious stuff is getting so ridiculous! It’s really so stultifying! Day after day, reminders of how stupid religion really is. Of course, in days gone by, these stories were hidden in local newspapers, so no doubt they always took place, but now that it’s all out in the open, how is it possible to be self-respecting and remain religion? As the years went by I was finding it harder and harder to belong to a church that was represented by so many homophobes and misogynists. I thought it would be possible to be a liberal, non-realist type of Christian, but it’s simply not a credible position when fellow-religionists behave in the way they do, and affirm the kinds of things that they affirm. I think, to tell the truth, that we need not only to focus on these things, but to become much sharper in our criticism of religion than we already are. It is idiotic that someone like John Polkinghorne can continue to say the kinds of thing he does about Christianity when he knows that so many Christians are so deeply anti-human in so many ways. But this story really takes the prize — to exclude women from participation in a conference on a medical discipline which concerns women! It’s a wonder that the organisers and participants can walk and talk at the same time!

  12. No Light says

    James – the girls from the Orot school (who were attacked for being immodest) are actually ultra-orthodox. The difference is that they are what is known as Dati Leumi/Religious Zionists, whereas the Haredim are anti-Israel, and consider zionism to be ‘avodah zara’ (idolatry). The Datim work, do national service, and educate their children, whereas the Haredim largely do not work, and live on state subsidies, do not teach secular studies to their children, and do not do national service.

    Crowepps – Rabbanit Keren’s ‘Taliban Women’ are now popping up in the US and Canada. Some are wearing cone-shaped head-pieces under their veils, to distort the outline of their heads, as they believe the shape of a woman’s head to be immodest. It’s funny how the rabbis have piled stringency upon stringency onto women, essentially telling them “be invisible and sexless”, and wondering how it lead to this. Makes perfect sense to me.

    Oh, and these veiled women? They will only have sex once a month, on mikveh night (after immersion in a ritual bath 14 days after their period started, as the bleeding days and seven after it make the woman ‘unclean’ until she immerses). Most couples get at least ten days of physical contact between clean/unclean time, but these women disallow contact at all times.

    For anyone who’s interested in the concepts, look up ‘Taharas Hamispacha’ (laws of family purity) ‘niddah’ and ‘harchakot’. Prepare to have your mind blown.

  13. Hank Fox says

    Heh. An ad in the right column advertises: “There’s a little bit of Israel in all of us.”

  14. Scote says

    Oh, sure, the women can watch…in their separate woman cooties section, but what if they are *menstruating*? (You know, super double unclean woman cooties…) Given how ridiculous orthodox Judaism is about menstruation I wouldn’t be surprised if officially menstruating women are not allowed to even be in the building. :-p

  15. interrobang says

    Since the Haredim are anti-Zionist in the broadest sense (ie. they don’t even think there should be a State of Israel, since they think that’s for G-d, not humans, to decide), they should leave. The hypocrisy is enormous, and I’m surprised it doesn’t enrage more people.

  16. The heretic says

    How can a gender-apartheid community have male gynaecologists? Why should a woman allow a male doctor to touch her? They should keep female shabes goj gynaecologists and ban any righteous Jewish man from training as a gyneacologists, I mean he’s touching these dirty things all the time, isn’t he?? 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *