"the fate of animals is of greater inportance to me than the fear of appearing ridiculous. It is indissolubly connected to to the fate of man". Emile Zola (1840-1902)
--- On Fri, 6/26/09, firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: Israel: Fur flies as Knesset bill threatens 'shtreimel' supply
Date: Friday, June 26, 2009, 10:25 PM
Fur flies as Knesset bill threatens 'shtreimel' supply.
By REBECCA ANNA STOIL
Although fur hats might seem like a distant concern for most
Israelis as they settle in to a steamy summer, it was exactly
such headgear that threatened to stand in the way of an
otherwise popular bill that passed its first reading on the
Knesset floor Wednesday.
MK Ronit Tirosh's bill to ban imports of fur products from
east Asia earned the rare support of the coalition but irked
haredi MKs who worried that nothing less than a centuries-old
tradition could be at stake. Tirosh proposed the private
member's bill after watching an investigative report on
Channel 10 news in which they revealed that products
manufactured in China and labeled as containing synthetic fur
were actually made using the pelts of dogs, cats and rabbits.
Tirosh jumped to the aid of the four-footed friends and
drafted a private member's bill that would forbid importing
furs or textiles containing dog, cat or rabbit fur from east
Asia. Any offender could find themselves facing a year in
prison. In her explanation of the bill, Tirosh explained that
the animals that are raised for their pelts are kept in
horrific conditions and that sometimes the pelts are ripped
off the animals while they are still alive.
Tirosh's bill was met with enthusiastic support from all
directions, and Agriculture Minister Shalom Simchon even
suggested that it be expanded to include all fur from all
animals and to bar imports from throughout the world, and not
just the far east.
One house faction, however, was less than satisfied with the
bill. UTJ Faction Chairman MK Menahem Eliezar Moses, who
represents Agudath Israel, immediately jumped into action,
fighting to preserve the round fur hats known as "shtreimels"
worn by a number of hassidic groups as well as by members of
certain other Jerusalem haredi communities.
Shtreimel prices are already high for many wearers, and some
have already begun to turn to synthetic furs as an alternative
to the multi-thousand dollar hats that are made from rabbit,
sable, stone marten, baum marten and American gray fox.
Tirosh, in turn, presented rabbinic opinions arguing that the
conditions in which the animals were raised and slaughtered
violated Jewish principles of preventing cruelty to animals
and offered to work together with a haredi representative to
try and find a solution to the furry near-crisis.
The bill met with a second unexpected hurdle last week when it
was pulled at the last minute from Wednesday's agenda as part
of the opposition's struggle against the government - even
though the ministerial committee for legislation had already
agreed to support it.
But a week late, and with UTJ opposition quieted, Tirosh got a
first taste of victory as the bill sailed through the house by
a vote of 32-1 with one abstention. Although no UTJ members
were present during the voting, the bill did earn the support
of a number of their haredi counterparts in Shas.
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“All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is
violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.”
Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860)