Tuesday, May 04, 2004

In the Harem

The Saudi Arabians do not allow women to drive. They believe the emancipation of women is contrary to God’s wishes and somehow they see driving as one of the ways in which this manifests itself. How exactly driving does that eludes me and in fact I find it rather odd that it is less damaging to the collective purity to have women driven around by men drivers than to allow them to do it themselves.

Actually I could ask my local Rabbi to explain it, seeing as the same farcical rule applies to Chassidic women. If my wife wants to go to the West-end, she can hop on a bus or the tube and run the gamut of ogles from half the male population of London (ok yes she is exceptionally fine looking) or she can take a cab and enjoy an hour-long drive with some horny cockney ex-decorator or a Sikh refugee but if she gets behind the wheel then she is a preetze (wanton woman). Not that she complains. Why should she? Just like the pampered Saudi princess she needs just pick up a phone and call a cab and Emess will be only too pleased to oblige. A flourish of her pen and the bill will take care of itself until I cough up at the end of the month.

Allegations doing rounds recently (unsubstantiated for reasons chastity) of sexual impropriety and even rape by drivers for these Jewish owned car services do not seem to be reason enough to change our saintly leader’s minds. Instead the blame is laid squarely in the laps (an unfortunate metaphor in this case) of the ladies themselves. In time-honoured tradition the powers that be accuse the victims of looking too pretty or dressing too well or having a mobile phone. With excuses as good as these it stands to reason that the Rabbinate is pleased to do what they do best, namely nothing at all.

I find it scandalous that we who consider ourselves the hottest part of the words smartest race have not managed to notice that the world has driven forward and we have been left behind. Driving is not a luxury today it is a necessity. It is not viewed as sexy or even worthy of note to see a woman driving and it is high time the Rabbinate recognized that. And as for their antiquated views on feminine responsibility at least they are not alone. There too they have the agreement of all of the Arab World.

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