I'm beginning to wonder if someone instituted a Jewish equivilant of April Fools Day and forgot to inform me, because, I'm having a hard time believing a story that VIN is reporting as fact.
As we all know, some chareidi men in Israel go to great lengths to avoid any possibility of contact between the sexes. Among the measures that have been tried (with varying degrees of success) include separate sidewalks, signs telling women not to walk in certain areas at certain times, separate checkout lines (or even hours) in stores, and so on.
The newest development on this front has now arrived. Someone in Israel has developed a pair of glasses that purposely obscure vision. The glasses are designed to prevent the person who is wearing it from seeing more than three meters ahead. If the person already wears glasses, they also sell stickers that you can put over your lenses to provide the same effect.
Normally, I would have a hard time believing that this could be true. My first natural reaction is to dismiss this as a joke. However, after what I have seen over the last few years, I have to say that I just don't know.
If this report is, indeed, true, then I feel very sorry for the direction that we are headed. Aside from the complete absurdity of the concept of hindering one's eyesight, there is also the issue of public safety to deal with. How does one know whether it's safe or not to cross the street if you can't see more than three meters in front of your face? Does the admonition to protect yourself from physical harm no longer apply?
Personally, I find it very ironic that this news story is reported right after we read on Shabbos the verse of וּשְׁמַרְתֶּם, וַעֲשִׂיתֶם--כִּי הִוא חָכְמַתְכֶם וּבִינַתְכֶם, לְעֵינֵי
הָעַמִּים: אֲשֶׁר יִשְׁמְעוּן, אֵת כָּל-הַחֻקִּים הָאֵלֶּה, וְאָמְרוּ
רַק עַם-חָכָם וְנָבוֹן, הַגּוֹי הַגָּדוֹל הַזֶּה.
(Rough translation: and you will observe them [my laws] and do them, because they are your wisdom and knowledge in front of the nations that they will hear of all these laws and say "surely this is a wise and understanding nation.")
I find it hard to believe that a single non-Jew reading this story would think that, by doing this, we are being wise and understanding. On the contrary, they will look at us and say "what a foolish people they are..."