While the debate over banning the burka rages on in Europe, in Israel, the cult of strange Jewish women who have taken on a face-veil is slowly becoming a full-blown community.
The Bchadrei Charedim website is now reporting that 20 families in Beit Shemesh are taking their children out of the local strictly Orthodox school, because the teachers' wives do not cover their faces. They are presumably going to open up their own institution.
Even more worryingly, the site reports that in recent days, some of the husbands of these women have sent a letter to the Edah Charedit beth din, asking the rabbinical judges to ban the face veil (as their wives are wearing it against these husbands' wishes) - so far to no avail.
Why is this important? Because if the court does not explicitly ban it after a request was made, it is essentially given its consent. Up until now, the Orthodox community - which in its overwhelming, overwhelming majority has opposed the adoption of the burka, which originated with one crazy woman - has been able to argue that it is a foreign practice with no history and, even more imortantly, no halachic basis.
If the rabbis don't speak up soon, when explicitly given the opportunity, that goes out the window.
(Via Mom in Israel)