A popular ultra-Orthodox news outlet on Sunday agreed to apologize and pay compensation after blurring the faces of a number of female Reform and Conservative leaders last year, according to the organization that brought a lawsuit against the site.

Last December, President Isaac Herzog met with representatives from the Reform and Conservative movements, as well as from the Women of the Wall activist group, to discuss the future of the egalitarian prayer section at the Western Wall.

In its report on the meeting, the Behadrei Haredim news site included a photograph of the meeting but blurred out the faces of the four female participants — Rakefet Ginsberg, CEO of Israel’s Masorti movement; Anna Kislanski, CEO of the Reform movement in Israel; Orly Erez-Likhovski, director of the Israel Religious Action Center; and Yochi Rappeport, executive director of Women of the Wall.

This was in line with the website’s general policy of refraining from publishing photographs of all women, on the grounds that doing so goes against Jewish laws of modesty, though this is disputed by many strictly Orthodox rabbis.

These four women filed a civil suit against the news site earlier this year through the Israel Religious Action Center (IRAC), claiming discrimination, negligence, libel and violating their privacy.

The case was sent to mediation, and on Sunday, Behadrei Haredim agreed to issue a formal apology and to pay compensation to the four women of an undisclosed sum — under the deal, the amount was kept secret. IRAC had initially demanded the site pay NIS 50,000 ($15,000) for publishing the blurred photograph.

“The website apologizes for blurring the faces of the women in a photograph published on December 1, 2021, and December 7, 2021, and wishes to express its regret for the damage caused to the women by publishing it,” the website wrote in a statement that was carried on the site on Sunday.

The four women involved issued a statement on Sunday hailing the decision, but also noting their concern over women’s rights in Israel in general.

“Particularly at this time, when women’s rights are under assault, we see great importance in this agreement, which makes it clear that the exclusion of women is illegal and that those who do it must pay,” they wrote.

“Unfortunately, there are many places in Israel, particularly at the Western Wall, where women are excluded and discriminated against. The liberal Jewish movements will continue to stand at the forefront of the fight for the rights of women and against their exclusion in the public sphere,” they said.

The lawsuit was the first-ever filed in Israel against a website “for the humiliating policies of erasing women,” according to IRAC.

Last year, IRAC marked a victory in its campaign against erasing women in the public sphere in Israel, when the Jerusalem District Court ruled in its favor and ordered the Jerusalem Municipality to investigate incidents of Haredi Jews vandalizing billboards depicting women’s faces throughout the city.

The group filed the lawsuit after religious vigilantes defaced the portrait of a 95-year-old Holocaust survivor that was put up outside Jerusalem City Hall.

“Lawbreakers cannot be allowed to dictate the public space,” the court ruled at the time.

Tobias Siegal contributed to this report.

I joined The Times of Israel after many years covering US and Israeli politics for Hebrew news outlets.

I believe responsible coverage of Israeli politicians means presenting a 360 degree view of their words and deeds – not only conveying what occurs, but also what that means in the broader context of Israeli society and the region.

That’s hard to do because you can rarely take politicians at face value – you must go the extra mile to present full context and try to overcome your own biases.

I’m proud of our work that tells the story of Israeli politics straight and comprehensively. I believe Israel is stronger and more democratic when professional journalists do that tough job well.

Your support for our work by joining The Times of Israel Community helps ensure we can continue to do so.

Thank you,
Tal Schneider, Political Correspondent

We’re really pleased that you’ve read X Times of Israel articles in the past month.

That’s why we started the Times of Israel ten years ago - to provide discerning readers like you with must-read coverage of Israel and the Jewish world.

So now we have a request. Unlike other news outlets, we haven’t put up a paywall. But as the journalism we do is costly, we invite readers for whom The Times of Israel has become important to help support our work by joining The Times of Israel Community.

For as little as $6 a month you can help support our quality journalism while enjoying The Times of Israel AD-FREE, as well as accessing exclusive content available only to Times of Israel Community members.

Thank you,
David Horovitz, Founding Editor of The Times of Israel

QOSHE - Ultra-Orthodox news website apologizes, will pay fine for blurring faces of women - Judah Ari Gross
We use cookies to provide some features and experiences in QOSHE

More information  .  Close
Aa Aa Aa
- A +

Ultra-Orthodox news website apologizes, will pay fine for blurring faces of women

21 21 68
04.12.2022

A popular ultra-Orthodox news outlet on Sunday agreed to apologize and pay compensation after blurring the faces of a number of female Reform and Conservative leaders last year, according to the organization that brought a lawsuit against the site.

Last December, President Isaac Herzog met with representatives from the Reform and Conservative movements, as well as from the Women of the Wall activist group, to discuss the future of the egalitarian prayer section at the Western Wall.

In its report on the meeting, the Behadrei Haredim news site included a photograph of the meeting but blurred out the faces of the four female participants — Rakefet Ginsberg, CEO of Israel’s Masorti movement; Anna Kislanski, CEO of the Reform movement in Israel; Orly Erez-Likhovski, director of the Israel Religious Action Center; and Yochi Rappeport, executive director of Women of the Wall.

This was in line with the website’s general policy of refraining from publishing photographs of all women, on the grounds that doing so goes against Jewish laws of modesty, though this is disputed by many strictly Orthodox rabbis.

These four women filed a civil suit against the news site earlier this year through the Israel Religious Action Center (IRAC), claiming........

© The Times of Israel


Get it on Google Play