Jerusalem -If it relies solely on its newspapers for information, the haredi public will not even know what the next prime minister looks like, Arye Frankel, a veteran haredi ad man at the Gal BSD agency, said Sunday.
“You simply will not see a picture of Tzipi Livni in the haredi newspapers,” said Frankel. “And in some cases you will not even see her first name,” he added.
A senior editor at Hamodia, the oldest haredi daily, controlled by the Ger Hassidic sect, said that in his paper the name Tzipi would not be mentioned.
“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,” he said.
The editor said that the policy regarding Golda Meir, the previous female prime minister, had been different.
“Golda was an institution. She was a respected figure with decades of political experience before she became prime minister. But in recent years there has been depreciation in the level of politicians,” he explained.
Avraham Kroizer, a haredi public relations strategist who works with Eyal Arad, Livni’s PR adviser, said that different papers had different policies regarding the use of women’s first names.
“Hamodia is the most conservative,” said Kroizer. “But in other papers you will find ‘Tzipi.’ But no haredi paper will publish Livni’s picture. 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.
“Photoshop [the graphic art program] works overtime in a haredi newspaper,” he explained.
As Hamodia’s editor put it, “For us the newspaper is an educational device that not only informs but also teaches people how to behave. If it detracts from yiddishkeit, it won’t be in our paper.”