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Israel to mass produce beard-friendly masks for the follicled faithful

Israel to mass produce beard-friendly masks for the follicled faithful
Israeli authorities have announced that they will produce custom-made face masks to protect the religious in the country, who sport beards as part of their faith, from the coronavirus.

In a move that will no doubt come as a relief to Israel’s religious faithful, there will be no orders issued by government to mow down their mutton chops, or curtail their chin curtains. 

Israeli authorities have asked the public to cover their mouths and noses in public, but this provides somewhat of a challenge to pious proponents of pogonotrophy; Jewish, Muslim and Christian groups in the country all wear beards as a sign of faith. 

Health Ministry deputy director-general Itamar Grotto allayed the fears among moustachioed mullahs and ruffled rabbis alike, however. 

“We are creating an industrial certification for masks, which means that in a few days there will really be masks of different sizes,” he told Army Radio.

“...(So) those with beards will be able to use the appropriate masks.”

A spokesperson for Israel's Chief Rabbinate said it was considering permitting religious Jews to shave off their chinsulation if it was deemed necessary, however, Grotto said that seeking such rabbinical approval was "not on the agenda right now."

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said last week that upcoming Jewish, Muslim and Christian holidays should be marked only with "the nuclear family only," adding that elderly relatives should be excluded from such events for their own safety.

In addition, movement around the ultra-Orthodox Jewish town of Bnai Brak, near Tel Aviv, has been restricted as the area accounts for roughly 30 percent of Israel's coronavirus cases. As of Monday morning, Israel had a confirmed total of 8,611 cases of Covid-19 and a death toll of 51.

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