FRENCH PRESS REVIEW: How can a Western democracy, the symbol of liberty throughout the entire world, dictate to its inhabitants the degree to which they can dress, asks Sefi Hendler in today’s Ha’aretz.
How is it, asks the left-leaning Israeli paper Ha’aretz, that in France where no one protests when a woman sunbathes topless, they are waging a war in the opposite direction?
Sefi Hendler looks at the proposed law in France to ban burkas and full veils in any place a public service is provided, including public transportation. He highlights the paradox of a country which symbolizes liberty the world over chosing to dictate how one can dress. What’s more, he says, there are only a few thousand women in France who wear the full Muslim veil. He compares France to Israel where religious dress is not restricted.
“This doesn’t mean Israel is free of discrimination yet still at least in terms of the burka and its variations, Israel appears more tolerant than the country of Voltaire.”
Hendler doesn’t seem to have an answer for integrating Muslim minorities into Western society, but says an obsession with the burka is not the answer.
Other stories in today’s international papers:
New York Times: “Europe Miffed at Obama’s Decision to Skip Summit!”
The Independent: “Israeli commander says ‘We rewrote the rules of war for Gaza’”
China Daily: “Young Net addicts on the rise”