Pamela Anderson, expected to descend on Israel in full glory next week for the new season of the local version of "Dancing With the Stars," is joining the local move to ban fur.
On paper, passing such a bill shouldn't be very hard in Israel, with its hot climate, seriously informal dress code and teeny fur trade. And nearly 80% of the people support the initiative, according to public opinion polls. But when presented last year, the proposed legislation hit an unexpected snag: ultra-Orthodox Jews.
Specifically, their shtreimels. Common among ultra-Orthodox Jews of European descent, the shtreimel -- a hat trimmed with fur -- is worn mostly by married men on the Sabbath, Jewish holidays and festive occasions. Style and other nuances disclose their affiliation, sometimes social and financial standing too.
Some are imported, others manufactured locally using imported fur. Only about 10,000 are made annually worldwide, says one Jerusalem craftsman, and they sell for about $4,000.
"Oy vey, you will be sending thousands of haredim to jail!" lawmaker Menachem Eliezer Moses of the United Torah Judaism faction is said to have exclaimed last year upon seeing the bill that called for a one-year jail sentence for violators.
The law has sputtered for over a year now, undergoing various incarnations. The original proposal sought to ban the use of fur from cats and dogs. Later expanded to include other furs imported or incorporated into textile, the bill did allow for certain religious use.