The poet Lea Goldberg and the paratrooper-heroine Hannah Szenes have two things in common: For one, Szenes also wrote poetry, such as "Blessed is the Match." But more important is that both recently became sex symbols, albeit only in Jerusalem.

Goldberg and Szenes, never known for seduction, now threaten Haredi modesty in Jerusalem. As a result, on billboards in the city they appear to be headless. At least they appear, even if only in part. Conspicuously absent from the remainder of ads in Jerusalem are the images of women that, miracle of miracles, grace the billboards of the same advertisers in Tel Aviv. Even the not-so-young woman on posters for the National Transplant Center has been removed in Jerusalem, so as not to offend the sensibilities of persons who find it unreasonable for there to be persons who have cards indicating their desire to have their organs transplanted after their death.

At least the ultra-Orthodox who are fighting to keep women out of sight and out of mind cannot be accused of age discrimination. It's only on the shuttle taxi between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv that am I asked to change places so "the rabbi" will not be forced to sit near me and be made impure with unseemly thoughts. Only in certain grocery stores in Jerusalem, and also Beit Shemesh, am I asked to wrap a paper skirt over my pants so as to dull my sex appeal. At my age this is kind of flattering; I'm still considered a sex object? Only Haredi men could think my singing voice might arouse them. Everyone else generally bites their lips when I hum happily, and one could say my singing voice serves as a chastity belt. This means the stimulation threshold for Haredi men of all ages, for women of all ages, from 8 to 80, is as low as it gets. This puts them in a new light. Until recently Haredi men were not renowned for their libido.

According to our bygone sages a woman who lives alone must not have a dog for fear that she, incapable of restraining her lust, might force herself on the animal. (What about miniature pinschers? What if the canine is female? And what about a man who lives alone; can he own a dog, male or female, or is there no concern about his unleashing his lusts on dogs, since for those purposes he can always wear black and go to the area of Tel Aviv's old central bus station? Until I receive an answer from Shas party spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef on these matters I am treading carefully around my dog Shoshana, for the sake of caution.

In other words, women are a threat to the modesty of men, whereas only dogs tempt women. All that remains is to think of ways to helping Haredi men from 13 to 120 to overcome their well-developed libidos. The solution is easy: Instead of removing women of all ages from public spaces in Israel, a public appeal could be issued asking Haredi men to stay at home or wherever they feel safe and protected from the sin lying at their doorstep in the female form.

קראו כתבה זו בעברית: הראש הכרות של חנה סנש