JERUSALEM (VINnews) — A group of Reform women are suing the B’Chadrei Charedi news website for blurring their faces in pictures.
The Israel Religious Action Center said Wednesday it was seeking NIS 345,000 ($100,000) in damages for a picture B’Chadrei ran last December of female leaders of Jewish movements meeting with President Isaac Herzog, in which the faces of the women were digitally blurred.
The suit was filed Monday on behalf of Anna Kislanski, CEO of the Reform Movement in Israel; IRAC director Orly Erez-Likhovski; Rakefet Ginsburg, who leads the Conservative Movement in Israel; Yochi Rappeport, executive director of Women of the Wall; and Women of the Wall deputy leader Tammy Gottlieb.
The picture allegedly caused the plaintiffs “harm and humiliation” by blurring their faces “just because they are women.” The statement noted that the men’s faces were left unblurred.
“Be’Chadrei Charedim must pay a significant price for this illegal exclusion, compensating my colleagues for the humiliation caused,” IRAC executive director Anat Hoffman said in a statement.
“It is unacceptable to blur the faces of women in Israel in 2022,” she said in a statement. “Just as we fought other instances of the exclusion of women, we will not stay silent about this blatant and harmful exclusion and will do everything in our power to prevent similar discrimination in the future.”
The lawsuit is the first ever filed in Israel against a website “for the humiliating policies of erasing women,” according to IRAC.
The photo ran in December 2021 and in response to a request to unblur the women in the picture, B’Chadrei said that it does not consider its actions harmful to women and urged the plaintiffs to respect its readers’ way of life.
“We have no intention of hurting women. Like the majority of Haredi journalism and media, we too don’t publish photos of women, as part of our readers’ insistence on maintaining the dignity of women,” the website said in a statement.
“As part of our coverage of the issue of the Western Wall, we reported a visit to the President’s Residence, which included blurring out the photos that included women, and we don’t see that as being harmful in any way,” it said.
“As those responsible for our readers’ requirements, we respect their wishes and don’t exclude women. Those who tout the sacred value of ‘live and let live’ should understand that this is Chareidi media, this is our way of life,” the statement added.