Daily Israel Report

Hold on to Your Shtreimel: Israel May Be First Fur-Free Nation

Israel soon may be the world’s first fur-free country, except for the traditional “shtreimel” fur hats for the hareidi religious community.
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 2/8/2010, 7:39 PM / Last Update: 2/8/2010, 8:39 PM

Israel news photo

Israel soon may be the world’s first fur-free country, with the exception of traditional “shtreimel” fur hats for the hareidi religious community. The Ministerial Committee on Law approved on Sunday a bill that would widen a current law and ban all import, export, productions and marketing of fur.

The only major exception to the proposed law is the use of fur for "traditional” reasons, meaning the "shtreimel” fur hats frequently worn by hareidi-religious Jews. The bill originally was sponsored by Kadima Knesset Member Ronit Tirosh and passed a first reading in the Knesset.

The existing law affects fur from cats and dogs, but Agricultural Minister Shalom Simchon backed the bill's inclusion of all animal fur. If the bill becomes law, Israel will be the first country in the world to place a near-total ban on all fur.

One minor exception is cow hide, which is only a secondary use after cows are slaughtered for meat. Wool from sheep and hair from camels and goats were not included in the bill because no slaughter or cruelty is involved.

Simchon, a minister from the Labor party, explained that the proposed law is needed because the fur industry causes cruelty to animals, some of whom have their fur taken while they are still alive.

He said that Israel should set an example and serve its Biblical role as a "light unto the nations.”

A bill prohibiting all fur was introduced in the Knesset last spring by Meretz MK Nitzan Horowitz but did not advance to the stage of Cabinet approval.