A Jewish candidate in the Jerusalem city elections is calling to prohibit women who wear the burqa from voting, unless they agree to prove their identity by showing their faces.
Candidate Aryeh King argues that the burqa, a garment which covers the face almost completely, is often used to perpetrate elections fraud.
“In the past people have come and voted more than once under cover of the burqa,” he warned in a letter to the Elections Committee.
King noted that the phenomenon has been seen not only among Arab Muslim residents of the city, but among hareidi-religious women as well. A small minority of hareidi women in Jerusalem and the nearby city of Beit Shemesh wear burqa-like garments which cover the face.
“The face covering is likely to mislead elections officials at the voting booths… As noted, in the general elections we saw this serious type of incident, and our complaints went unanswered,” he wrote.
“In Jerusalem, unlike in other [Israeli] cities, there are thousands of women, Jewish and Arab, who wear this type of clothing. Therefore, as someone who is competing in the upcoming elections for the city council, I am turning to you and asking you to make the principled decision to require every woman to identify herself and to show her face to female elections officials at the polling station, who will match her face to the picture on her identity card,” he concluded.
King is a long-term activist who is known for his efforts to purchase land in Arab neighborhoods of Jerusalem that was owned by Jews prior to 1948. He has received support in the municipal race from Yaakov “Ketzaleh” Katz, the former chairman of the National Union party.