It’s not an official Israeli government program, but it has been proven very effective. There are periodic protests by Haredi (ultra-Orthodox) Jews and they pack the streets. Israelis have tried rows of policemen, officers on horseback, even a foul-smelling spray known as “Skunk.”
But, three women removed their tops leaving them in just their bras. Orthodox Jews are not allowed to look at women, especially when they are not fully dressed, except for their wives and sometimes even that is forbidden. Later in this article, you will see the Orthodox Jews scattering in fear until no one is left.
Israeli officials have not announced that they were adopting the new deterrent themselves.
But during last weekend’s protests in Jerusalem over the Eurovision Song Contest being heldon the Sabbath, a handful of Israeli women tried a more peaceful, more innovative, and theoretically more effective tactic: they took their shirts off.
Under “modesty” rules, Haredi men are forbidden to view erotic images of women other than their wives, and in some cases to view women at all. Israeli advertising posters are periodically defaced if they contain images of women, and some Haredi newspapers won’t run any photos of women. In fact, how to cover the 2016 presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton was a source of great consternation among Haredi journalists.
— Tom Bateman (@tombateman) May 18, 2019
Because of Israel’s closely divided parliamentary system, Haredi political parties have an outsized voice in national affairs, which has emboldened many protests by very religious Jews over issues like service in the army (currently, young men in their communities do not serve and study Jewish texts instead) and the hosting of gay pride events.
Those protests have often blocked traffic and otherwise hurt commerce in Israeli cities, so the Israeli police have tried various methods to disperse them – including methods Israel also uses on Palestinian protesters.
However, if seeing unclad women becomes a known part of the protesting experience, the men’s rabbis (and wives?) are unlikely to tolerate further participation.
Despite the protests, Saturday’s Eurovision contest proceeded as scheduled, with the top prize going to the Netherlands for Duncan Laurence’s song “Arcade.”