Ultra-orthodox Israeli rabbi bans girls over five from riding bikes because it is 'provocative'

Ruling is latest in series of restrictions imposed on groups of Haredis

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The Independent Online

An ultra-orthodox Jewish leader has reportedly banned girls aged five and older in some areas of Israel from riding bicycles - claiming it is “immodest”.

The rabbi of the Jerusalem neighbourhood of Nahloat distributed the stringent decree to his followers in synagogues across the area.

He had said young girls riding bicycles could “cause serious damage to their modesty” and that bicycle seats caused young girls to sit in a way men found “provocative”, according to the Arutz Sheva 7 website.

The ruling said: “We inform parents that they are obligated to forbid their daughters from age five and up from acting in this illegitimate way.”

Those affected by the ruling are members of the ultra-orthodox Haredi branch of Judaism.

In December ultra-orthodox rabbis requested women in Israeli city Bnei Brak refrain from studying in higher education, according to Yeshida World News website.

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They claimed institutions which teach secular subjects presented a real danger, and that girls and women should not study. 

Haredi leaders have also attempted to effectively ban the internet from their communities, even declaring smartphones non-kosher.

However, studies suggest this interdict has had little effect, with ultra-orthodox Jews in Israel using the internet just as much as anyone else, according to the Washington Post.