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Israeli top court: All beards equal

JERUSALEM, Jan. 29 (JTA) — Israel’s High Court of Justice has ruled that all beards are created equal. A three-justice panel ruled Wednesday that all bearded Israelis are eligible to receive special gas masks to accommodate their facial hair. During the 1991 Gulf War, when Iraq launched Scud missiles at Israel, the Israel Defense Force distributed gas masks to all Israeli citizens out of concern that the missiles were armed with chemical warheads. At the time, only men who wore beards for religious reasons were allowed to receive special masks. Other bearded Israelis had to make due with the standard issue. In its ruling, the court determined that a Defense Ministry regulation providing special gas masks only to Orthodox Jews discriminated against other bearded Israelis.