European rabbis call new airports scanners 'immodest'
Full-body scanners use radio waves to generate a picture of the body that can see through a person's clothing.
The use of body scanners in airports would violate the rights of Religious Jewish women whose modesty would be compromised by the scan, the Rabbinical Center of Europe warned on Wednesday.
The statement by the center - an umbrella for Orthodox communities - was made after the operator of London's Heathrow airport announced that body scanners would be installed there in the near future.
Full-body scanners, unlike standard archway metal detectors used in airports around the world, use radio waves to generate a picture of the body that can see through a person's clothing and spot hidden weapons or packages.
"While appreciating the concern of passenger safety we would recommend that men are scanned by men, and women by women, akin to body frisk," the center's spokesperson, Asher Gold, said.
The Netherlands already uses some scanners, and announced last week that all its airports would use them, after the failed attack by a Nigerian suspect traveling on a plane from Amsterdam to Detroit.
Holland's chief Orthodox rabbi, Binyomin Jacobs, told Haaretz that he had been assured that the image generated in the scanners is analyzed first by a computer software. "Human operators are involved only when the scanners indicate a risk," he said. "This is a reasonable and workable solution, in my mind."