Baywatch star Pamela Anderson, fresh off of sparking a censorship debate in India, has taken her act to Israel, where she is performing in the national "Dancing With the Stars" franchise and also urging Orthodox Jews not to wear fur hats. Anderson, speaking on behalf of People for the Ethical Treatments of Animals, decried the fur hats that are customary among Israel's ultra-Orthodox community. The Associated Press explains:
To combat growing secularization of Jews to European society in the 18th century, Hassidic Jews decided that their way of dress should remain intact and not be influenced by fashion. Descendants of these communities to this day wear the black hats and coats of that period, including, at times, fur hats.
"It’s almost 2011. There are so many alternatives to things. We can be compassionate in our choices," Anderson said, apparently unaware that much of her audience considers the year 2011 to have come and gone over three thousand years ago.
Karen Chernick, who blogs about environmental issues in the Middle East, points out that the Orthodox community "strictly follows the laws of kashrut, or dietary laws, based on a desire to be more humane towards animals." She also notes that Israel has no fur farms. Anderson praised this as well, telling reporters that this made the country a model for the world on animal rights.