Religious Police in Israel

Ultra orthodox censorship in Israel

23rd September

Bird Brained Censors...

Israeli newspapers refuse to print pictures of their foreign minister

Tzipi Livni is poised to become Israel's next prime minister - but ultra-orthodox newspapers in the Jewish state are refusing to publish her picture for reasons of religious modesty.

Only about 600,000 of Israel's 7 million population are haredi, or ultra-orthodox, but they pack a strong political punch and include key officials including cabinet ministers and the mayor of Jerusalem.

No haredi paper will publish Livni's picture, said Avraham Kroizer, a public relations adviser to the incoming premier: Graphic artists will blur the faces of women that do make their way into pictures that the papers want to use. They will also blur pictures of television sets or other items deemed improper to be seen by the wider haredi public.

One ultra-orthodox paper also said it would not be using Livni's name Tzipi - short for ‘Tziporah' which means ‘bird.'

We might write "Mrs. T. Livni" or just "Mrs. Livni," but the name. Tzipi is too familiar. It is not acceptable to address a woman using her first name, especially when she goes by a nickname, said a senior editor at Hamodia, the oldest ultra-orthodox daily.


1st November

Update: Election Cover Up...

Election posters of women banned on Jerusalem buses

A company responsible for advertising on the Egged bus company has refused to place a political advertisement on Jerusalem city buses showing female candidates for the city council, so as not to offend the haredi public.
The poster disqualified by...

The advertisement rejected last week by the Canaan advertising company, which is charged with advertising with the Egged bus cooperative, includes the portrait of two  women and a man running for city council on a joint religious-secular list called Wake up Jerusalem-Yerushalmim. The municipal elections will take place on November 11.

A spokesman for the company stood by the rejection of the ad. All advertisements are subject to the approval of the Egged censor, Canaan company spokesman Ohad Gibli said: In order not to offend the sensitivities of a certain public, certain criteria have been defined regarding the content of advertisements. Pictures of women cannot appear on buses that go through haredi neighborhoods, Gibli said.

Egged spokesman Ron Ratner said the bus company was never asked about advertisements with the portraits of women running for the city council, and would never have nixed them: Egged never received a query on this issue and would never have rejected such an advertisement of a public figure so long as it was positive, modest and respectable, and did not hurt public sensitivities. The Egged spokesman said he thought the whole issue was a PR ploy since the would-be city councilors never contacted Egged on the issue.

It is very sad that in Israel of 2008 women suffer such brazen discrimination, which is absolutely unacceptable, said Wake up Jerusalem-Yerushalmim spokeswoman Meirav Cohen, whose portrait was one of those appearing on the banned advertisement.

In the meantime, the ads in question have gone up on bus stations, which are the responsibility of another advertising company.


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