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A Bill Raising Age for Marriage to 18 Approved

A bill prohibiting marriage under the age of 18 was recently approved in the Knesset, the new development changed the previous minimum age of 17. The Ministerial Committee on Legislation approved the bill initiated by MK Yariv Levin. Five ministers supported the bill and only one opposed, naturally, Minister Mushulam Nahari from Shas.

According to Levin, the minimum age of marriage must be aligned with worldwide norms and legal developments in underage marriage. This phenomena compromised the underage person’s rights, among these rights is the right to be joined in matrimony with full knowledgeable consent and with a right mind. Underage women are most at danger, in these kinds of marriages, as they are being wed according to traditional ideologies in which a woman’s place is at home and her life roll is limited to bearing and raising children. That is why the young woman’s consent might be a result of pressure from their family and in fact the marriage is forced. Furthermore, according to the bill, studies indicate that a large percent of underage marriages end up in divorce as well as violence and financial difficulties due to the couples’ young age and lack of maturity.

During the debate a representative from The Ministry of Justice stated that the office supports the bill. He explained that as the law rules 18 as the legal eligibility age, it is only appropriate that marriage, a legal declaration, will be prohibited under the legal eligibility age. The representative also stated that the Ministry of Justice also supports the clause that stipulates that a marriage license will be given at the age of 16 only in special cases.

This is indeed a historical landmark that will correct an injustice caused to young people, and especially underage women. This bill is social by nature and its approval will have a direct effect by sparing thousands from forced marriages, poverty and violence and will give them the opportunity to commence their lives however they choose. The bill is soon to be put for a preliminary vote at the Knesset.

Most Sexist Commercial Awards: “Take Your Picture Wearing Nothing But a Bra”

To commemorate the International Woman’s DayWIZO Israel will release the list of the most sexist commercials for 2012. This year the FIX brand has received the dishonor.

A highly professional committee, including media, academy and women organizations representatives, was assembled in order to rate the commercials. The results were revealed on March 6th during a special convention, under the chairmanship of Knesset member Tzipi Hotovely. The event took place in the Knesset in cooperation with the Committee for the Advancement of the Status of Women.

The convention included a number of speakers, including representatives from WIZO Israel which declared: “selling a bra shouldn’t include undressing young girls”. Hotovely stated: “the degradation of women should be heavily fined”. As discussed in the convention; inviting teenage girls to pose wearing bras to promote your product is sexism.

The campaign which granted FIX with the scarlet letter invited teenage girls to pose wearing bras by the brand and publish the photos in the company’s Facebook page to win prizes. Also in the dishonorable list of most sexist are: Goldstar beer, Proportion – medical center, Do-It kitchens, and AXE Body Spray.

According to the committee: “this advertising crosses a red line as it encourage under aged teenage girls to actively take part in the degrading marketing of a product in a way that objectifies and sexualize women. We fear the pressure to pose in a seductive manner will be misinterpreted by teenagers and will reinforce the notion that the exploitation of the woman body is legitimate”.

This is the fourth year the scarlet letter is published by the VIZO organization. Last year’s “winners” were the Arena Mall and in previous years the honor was bestowed upon “Mey Eden” and the “Fairy” brand.

According to Gila Oshrat, Chairperson of VIZO Israel, The phenomena of depicturing the woman body as a soulless object is too common in the prime time. An advertising agency is indeed not the Ministry of Education but it could show some responsibility none the less and take on creating a balance between freedom of speech and a respectful, appropriate depicturing of the woman body.

Settling Accounts & South Heats Up

Today in a cabinet meeting Netanyahu said “We have collected a high price from them and we are still collecting, we will continue to operate as long as it is necessary.”

Friday the IAF caught up with the leader of the Popular Resistance Committee’s, Zuhir al-Qaisi (49). He took his office after the previous head of the Popular Resistance Committee, Jamal Abu Samadhana was also killed by an Israeli attack. He replaced the first head, also killed by the IAF.

Zuhir, AKA “Abu Ibrahim” was one of the planners of the Highway 12 terror attack near Eilat in August 2011. Eight Israelis were killed in the attack. He was also involved in the kidnapping of Gilad Shalit, attacks on the border crossing and numerous rocket attacks on Israel.

According to Israeli Intelligence, Zuhir was actively planning a large terror attack on the southern border with Egypt. He was extremely religious and had a radical interpretation of Islam, publicizing this a few days ago:

“Islam is the solution. Islam is a religion that will not exist without Jihad in Alla’s way. Alla will not change the people’s situation, until the people will change their own situation themselves.”

In the ensuing hostilities the terror groups Popular Resistance Committee and Islamic Jihad fired over 90 rockets into the south of Israel, hitting Ashqelon, Ashdod, Beer Sheva and small communities all over the area. Hamas seems to not be interested in hostilities and is so far standing back and some say is even trying to calm things down.

Israel’s “Iron Dome” rocket defense system is proving handy. The system up until Saturday has shot down 25 of 27 rockets that entered its sphere of defense, proving highly effective and making the military folks and southerners feel better. Overall there have 5 wounded on the Israeli side and Palestinians are reporting 14 dead so far.

Islamic Jihad is vowing to continue the attacks.

Attack on an arms depot in the North of the Gaza strip:

Crime and Punishment Part 2 – Life in Gaza

Part two from

Stratfor Files Discuss Israeli Commandos Destroying Iran Nuclear Facility

Last December, the global intelligence company Strategic Forecast, referred to as Stratfor, was hacked by members of the Anonymous group. Among the files gathered were a very large number of internal emails, showing how the private intelligence gathering company conducted its business around the world, and include a lot of revelations that are only now becoming public. One such email for example hints at the fact that Israeli commandos and Kurdish fighters may have destroyed an Iran nuclear facility. If true, this could have wide repercussions in the middle east.

The email is just one of five millions that the firm sent and that was hacked in the December attack. In it, Stratfor analysts apparently obtained information that would indicate an Israeli commando wiped out an Iranian nuclear facility. Some of the company staff discuss how likely that is, and come to the conclusion that it could be true if the Israeli forces cooperated with Kurdish fighters. The explosion at the Iranian facility was seen as possibly being caused by such an attack: “[He] was asked what he thought of reports that the Israelis were preparing a military offensive against Iran. Response: I think this is a diversion. The Israelis already destroyed all the Iranian nuclear infrastructure on the ground weeks ago.” Thanks to the series of emails that followed, the company comes to the conclusion that it may well have happened the way their informant says it did.

But this is just one of many revelations that are already starting to come out from these massive files. In its press release, WikiLeaks portrayed Stratfor as a private intelligence agency, a shadow CIA bribing people to obtain their intelligence through a series of hidden Swiss bank accounts, working with large corporations, executives, government agencies and the military to get the best intelligence they could through money exchanges or extortion, and then turning this into a money making business. Their latest fund StratCap aims at profiting financially from getting this early access to facts and rumors from around the world. Meanwhile, a select few individuals and corporations are allowed to pay the company to get early access to this information.

Meanwhile, Stratfor has posted a statement on its web site, saying the hack and subsequent release of private emails is a deplorable and illegal act, something they did not authorize, and warn that some of the emails may be altered or faked. They claim that their internal systems are now more secure and that such a hacking attempt would not happen again. Still, there’s no doubt that the emails released will more than likely bring us more facts about powerful world figures in the weeks to come.

Crime and Punishment Part One – Life in Gaza

This is’s version of life in Gaza under Hamas rule…

US & Israel Consulting on Iran

Some great new quotes from the US starting with State Department Deputy spokesman Mark Toner regarding the Iran Nuclear time bomb and the failure of the International Atomic Energy Agency’s to Tehran:

“This is a disappointment. It wasn’t all that surprising, frankly. But, you know, we’re going to look at the totality of the issue here and the letter and what we think is the best course of action moving forward”.

“let’s be very clear that we consult very closely with Israel on these issues,” he added. “We are very clear that we are working on this two-track approach. We believe, and are conveying to our partners, both Israel and elsewhere, that this is having an effect.”

Then, White House spokesman Jay Carney:

“We regret the failure of Iran to reach an agreement this week with the IAEA that would permit the agency to fully investigate the serious allegation raised allegations, rather, raised in its November report…”

“Unfortunately this is another demonstration of Iran’s refusal to abide by its international obligations..”

In a blatant F U finger gesture Iran raised the hopes of the world nations that still believe in Santa Clause, when it sent a letter to EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton last week, raising hopes for the prospects of renewed talks with world powers. To this Carney said the United States was continuing to evaluate Iran’s intentions and that

“This particular action by Iran suggest that they have not changed their behavior when it comes to abiding by their international obligations..”

Please try and understand. Iran is building a nuclear bomb and nothing and no one will stop it. As soon as it has the weapon it will use it to change the balance of power in the Middle East and around the world. If nothing is done by force it will continue to piss on the world community. The best proof is the response Ahmadinejad gave a few days ago to Hilary Clinton’s remark “that all options are still being examined and are on the table” – to which he answered “those options can stay on the table and rot there”.

Just a little background on the Iranian mentality – Iran fought Iraq for eight years in the First Gulf War (1980-1988) – the longest Conventional War in history. And not only it did not give in, it rejected attempts for cease fire by Iraq’s Sadam Hussein: “On 21 June 1982 Khomeni rejected the Iraqi peace offer in a speech and proclaimed that Iran would invade Iraq and would not stop until the Ba’ath regime was replaced by an Islamic Shia republic. Given that Saddam’s offer of 1982 served as the basis of the 1988 ceasefire, Khomeini’s decision extended the war for the next six years”.

According to journalist Robin Wright:

“During the Fateh offensive [in February 1987], I toured the southwest front on the Iranian side and saw scores of boys, aged anywhere from nine to sixteen, who said with staggering and seemingly genuine enthusiasm that they had volunteered to become martyrs. Regular army troops, the paramilitary Revolutionary Guards and mullahs all lauded these youths, known as baseeji, for having played the most dangerous role in breaking through Iraqi lines. They had led the way, running over fields of mines to clear the ground for the Iranian ground assault. Wearing white headbands to signify the embracing of death, and shouting “Shaheed, shaheed” (Martyr, martyr) they literally blew their way into heaven. Their numbers were never disclosed. But a walk through the residential suburbs of Iranian cities provided a clue. Window after window, block after block, displayed black-bordered photographs of teenage or preteen youths.”

The Iran–Iraq War was horribly costly, it is considered one of the deadliest wars since World War II. It cost Iran an estimated 1 million casualties, killed or wounded, and Iranians continued to suffer and die as a consequence of Iraq’s use of chemical weapons. And still, not all was negative according to the Iranian government-owned Etelaat newspaper who had this to say:

“There is not a single school or town that is excluded from the happiness of “holy defence” of the nation, from drinking the exquisite elixir of martyrdom, or from the sweet death of the martyr, who dies in order to live forever in paradise.”

Get the picture?

Saying it Out Loud

A human rights oriented report issued in honor of the 60th anniversary for the Universal Declaration of Human Rights crowned the country of Israel as most unsupportive western country to the disabled and minorities. The report addressed aspects such as health, education, accommodation, the right to privacy and many more.
The most unsettling kind of discrimination for me is the legal and legitimate blunt kind directed at Arab citizens in Israel. It manifests itself daily in legislation and policies unquestionably favoring Jewish citizens.

Taboo as it may be, I cannot avoid the comparison between Jews facing anti-Semitism in early 20th century Europe and Arabs facing racism in 2012’s Israel. Actually, some Israeli extremists where probably inspired by those “anti-Semite Monsters”.

I often encounter the horrific, irresponsible and practically illegal declaration: “death to Arabs”. As infants who innocently repeat curse words that their unsuspecting parents blurred out, without understanding the full meaning, questioning or casting doubt, so do Israelis that “hear” their government’s relations with Arab citizens and duplicate. No job opportunities, funding or quality education is perfectly fine, they’re Arabs and it’s their fault. Since infancy we have been suckling on the tales of their inferiority and our superiority, their blame and our innocence, them and us, so without a shadow of doubt – they had it coming.

When I talk with friends my age, a progressive and information driven generation, I often hear estranged, recited slogans. We can discuss art, music, sex and fashion in a deep and meaningful way, but the moment the Arab “problem” arises they become the echo of a blind and hateful mob.

So, what came first, the policy or the hatred? All of those decision makers where once children, students, soldiers and this hate trickled deep within their minds. They now have the honor of fulfilling the message of superiority by ignoring the needs of a large segment of the population they took upon themselves to serve. And so the torch of hatred is passed on from generation to generation, parent to child, teacher to student, elected official to attentive citizen.

One cannot ignore the threat of terror, the fear and the bereavement which ache and throb in all of us. I knowingly separate the politics, lands and local history from the welfare of Arabs in Israel. Those two conversations usually collapse into one and are misused as excuses for one another. This is a country of complexities that deeply scar our reality throughout years of settlement, resistances, wars, terror attacks and more. All take their toll on our spirits, sensibility and morals.

Homer, in 800 BC said: “The outcome of the war is in our hands; the outcome of words is in the council”. I say: The outcome of the war is in our words, as they shape our reality.

Guest Post by Maayan Cohen

Dog Run Over Twice

The face of the generation is like the face of the dog run over twice by a “Dan” bus in Tel Aviv. Alas, this is not where the problem lies; it is within the law, the education and within the lack of public discourse. We have other problems except for Iran.

A week ago we heard the story about a dog being run over – twice. First it was merely injured only to be run over again, this time to death, suspiciously by a “Dan” bus driver. We encounter animal cruelty on a daily basis, but this event has crossed a line. To witness a supposedly run over dog and running it over again demonstrate an indifferent, non compassion capable character.

In Dror Cohen’s opinion, the trampling of animal rights and especially the rights of a Labrador, which size cannot be missed, symbolizes a deep loss of values. Thos who are cruel to animals are prone to be cruel to the elderly, homeless and other helpless groups. According to “Dan” spokesperson:

“The driver was unable to stop the bus or change course due to passenger safety considerations and nearby vehicles”.

This declaration demonstrates the apathy Cohen talks about. It seems as though “Dan” is confused and is under the impression it operates trains which are unable to slow down or change course and not buses.

The Dan Transportation Corporation must be up to standard, arrive on schedule and deliver a vital service. It employs a large staff and is supervised by the department of transportation. But what about decency and keeping the safety of all those who pass by without exception? The driver operating a public transportation vehicle takes on not only your safety but also the safety of those who pass by, including animals.

In order to change the state of animal rights, a wider outlook is needed. If you really wish to fight animal cruelty, you must hand the matter to the law. The charges for the crimes for animal cruelty, abuse and the killing of animals must be more severe. This would allow courts of law to issue more serious and appropriate vertices.
According to the animal rights, a person who tortures or abuses animals in any form will suffer 3 years of imprisonment or be fined 226,000 NIS. None the less, according to the Ministry of the Environment’s website courts of law are far from implicating their authority. They mostly issue verdicts much softer than the maximum penalties. The educational systems must do its share and put recourses aside for the matter. A petting zoo in kindergarten is not nearly enough. Abusers come in all ages and especially teens. Why not take the time and efforts to educate high school students in the matter?

Making Israel More Humane
Naive as it may be, it is time for Knesset members to improve our quality of life by updating the 18 year old animal rights law, even though animals don’t have electoral influence. The charges must be more severe, effective and practical and ones that also limit the courts freedom to dismiss them lightly.

Syrian Violence Continues After Referendum Offer

Almost a full year after the violence and clashes in Syria began, things seem to be moving very slowly. Again this week violence erupted in the region of Deraa, a city housing several rebel strongholds. This comes just a day after the country’s president Bashar Assad made an offer to hold a referendum about a new constitution, and bring new elections within 90 days. The offer drew a lot of criticism, and was rejected but by the rebel leaders and other countries. Meanwhile, it seems like the violence isn’t slowing down, and civilians remain trapped in the cross fire.

This is all happening while a recent UN Security Council resolution was rejected by Russia, and while France is said to be negotiating with the world power to bring a new resolution forward. One of the goals of that new resolution would be to create corridors so that civilians can flee the violence. Meanwhile however, it seems like Assad isn’t slowing down in trying to uproot the rebellion, with weapons mostly supplied from countries like Russia and China. This latest country published an opinion article in the newspaper People’s Daily, a government sponsored paper often used as mouth piece by the communist party, saying that Middle East conflicts need to be handled in a realistic manner. The paper said “The Middle East is the world’s most important fuel depot. If gripped by chaos, oil prices would skyrocket, shocking the stock market, financial systems and economies.”

Meanwhile on the ground, it’s hard to know exactly what goes on since Syria tightly restrict media access. The authorities there have no comments, but reports from another recent attack by the Syrian military against civilians in the region of Hama produced over 5 dead and 50 wounded within 36 hours due to heavy shelling and sniper fire. The military has been using artillery against the city for the 13th day in a row, attempting to drive out rebels. At the UN however, things seem to still be at a deadlock, with France arguing for a resolution that would call for humanitarian action, and Russia worried that the Security Council would call for a regime change, saying “If the plan is to use the Security Council and United Nations to adopt some language to help legitimize regime change, then I’m afraid international law does not allow this and we cannot support such an approach.” The Arab League wants a UN backed peacekeeper force on the ground, but that is also unlikely to happen until Russia and China change their minds.

There’s no question that a human tragedy is happening on the ground in Syria, and while the government in power there kills civilians by the thousands, very little is done from other countries, who spend most of their times in arguments and discussions, with national interests often blocking any progress towards a resolution. Meanwhile, people will keep dying.

Making Friends Bibi Visits Cyprus

These days you need to keep and make new friends. Benjamin Netanyahu and wife visited Cyprus in a historic one day trip. He met with Dimitris Christofias the PM and signed a mutual rescue agreement that allows both countries to send troops for a limited time to the other country in times of a disaster.

The same agreement was once in place with Turkey but since relations went downhill, this is a little message to the Turks that no one is irreplaceable.

Netanyahu said that “the sanctions on Iran are not working. We are dealing with a country that break all international codes of behavior.” He also said that the US and other countries should worry about a country like Iran holding a nuclear weapon.

Cyprus also has a tense relationship with Turkey that’s blaming it for drilling for Natural Gas in its territorial waters. That has also made the relations with Israel more important recently for Cyprus.

During some previous discussions Israel has asked to place some fighters in Cyprus. The same sort of discussions have gone on with Greece, which has also been getting chummy with Israel.

Milken Archive Releases Oldest American Jewish Music in Existence

The Milken Archive of Jewish Music announces the release of a significant new project which provides new insights into the development of Jewish music during the pre-Independence and first century of post-Independence America. “The Song of Prayer in Colonial and 19th Century America” provides an opportunity to learn about the foundations of early American Jewish music through the music that accompanied the Jewish immigrants as well as the original compositions and melodies that emerged in America.

The Milken Archive has been documenting, preserving and disseminating music which relates to the American Jewish experience since 1990. The archive holds a large collection of American Jewish music including oral histories, video footage of performances and many of the archive’s own recordings. The goals of Lowell Milken founder of the Archive, include the research of American Jewish music, compilation of historical documentation and encouragement of academic research relating to the American Jewish music experience.

The Milken Archive’s new project, “The Song of Prayer in Colonial and 19th Century America” follows early Jewish immigrants who arrived in America during the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. Beginning with families who fled the turmoil caused by the Spanish Expulsion and following through to the development of America’s Reform Movement, the multimedia volume explores the musical traditions of America’s earliest Jewish settlers.

The first American Jewish immigrants arrived from Spain and Portugal, often by way of South and Central America. Their liturgies included tunes and melodies of the Western Sephardic traditions. During these years, Ashkanazi Jews who immigrated to America generally joined the existing Sephardic community and integrated into their institutions.

The volume also highlights the religious music which accompanied the 19th century wave of Jewish immigration. Many of these individuals were adherents of the new Reform movement and introduced new melodies sung in German, Hebrew and English. The first volume of “Song of Prayer in Colonial and 19th Century America” demonstrates how these Jews worshiped with music that was often arranged in the style of Protestant hymns or sung to tunes borrowed from classical compositions. These immigrants sought to create a distinctly Jewish-American liturgy and their music expresses the infusion of their heritage with their new life in America.

Hamas Will Never Recognize Israel – Haniyeh

Hamas’s Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh was visiting Iran this week to thank the Iranian leaders for their continuing support of the Hamas movement. There, he made some bold statements that Israel would never be recognized by Hamas, and that all Palestinian lands would eventually get liberated from the presence of Israel. These statements came as Haniyeh was on a regular visit in Tehran, and are not that surprising knowing the goals of the organization. But what do these statements mean for the long term peace in the region, especially with the upcoming election, and how will the other nations react?

According to Haniyeh, “they (West) want from us to stop resistance and acknowledge Israel but I herewith announce that this will never happen.” That’s what he said through an interpreter while on his visit in Iran. These are of course the thoughts of many Palestinians, but to hear them once again from the leader of the movement means there is no doubt what their policies would be, should they win the upcoming Palestinian election. While at the ceremony marking the 33rd anniversary of the Iranian revolution, both Haniyeh and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad met in private to discuss policies, along with supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. It’s clear that the statements were aimed at supporters, adding “our message and the message of all those who lost their blood in the Palestinian lands is that all occupied lands will eventually be liberated from Israeli occupation.”

Two years ago, a ground breaking Palestinian election paved the way for future peace, but ended up in violence, like so many things in this region. After a year of fighting, Hamas ended up victorious, but it didn’t change much for the ordinary people living in Gaza. Again, we’re facing yet another upcoming election, and already tensions are high. Hamas will once again face Fatah for control of the Palestinian lands, but neither Israel nor the west recognize the legitimacy of Hamas, seeing them as a terrorist organization, which isn’t helped much when western leaders hear statements like that, basically calling for the eradication of an entire country. While there hasn’t been any direct response from other world leaders as to what Haniyeh said, it’s likely to add fuel to the fire, and make the upcoming elections even harder than they will almost certainly be.

In the end, regardless of whether the statements are public or not, it’s clear what the organization wants, and there’s little doubt that more violence will come, and as usual the ones paying the price are usually the innocent bystanders.

Syria Violence Continues While World Has It’s Thumb Up It’s Ass

Syria has been plunged into a civil war for many months now, with the latest casualty report being 68 dead amongst the latest clashes in various flash points around the country. Mostly civilians died this time, as is often the case, as the Syrian army and the rebel fighters battle an endless struggle. Wady Barada, a small town near Damascus, was severely hit, with 35 of the deaths being there. Activists on the ground say the casualty report could mount to 200 for the previous 3 days but numbers could not be verified. A local coalition called the Local Co-ordination Committees monitors the uprising and reports those figures to the media. Meanwhile, the world powers on Tuesday appealed to the UN to do something, but there’s disagreements.

The US, England and France urged the UN Security Assembly on Tuesday to pass a tough resolution that would ask president Bashar al-Assad to stop the violence and hand over his power. Hillary Clinton spoke in behalf of the US to the UN council, saying “We all know that change is coming to Syria. Despite its ruthless tactics, the Assad regime’s reign of terror will end.” And it’s not just the western powers that called for Assad to resign. Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim Al Thani, Qatar’s prime minister, spoke in the name of the Arab League and said that Syria’s president failed to make a sincere effort to end the violence, and instead keeps killing his own people. It’s rare to see so many people asking for a similar action, however the vote will likely not be quick. Russia is a long time ally of the Assad regime and trades weapons with Syria. A Russian deputy said that they prefer a political solution, and a text must be agreed upon by all the members. He said there would thus be no vote in the coming days. Russia also said the Security Council has no right to ask for a rule change in Syria.

The current draft resolution that so many UN members were hoping to vote on was introduced by the Arab League, and asks for a unity government through a transparent and free election. It also asks that there be no foreign military presence in Syria, like what happened in Libya. It also says that the Assad regime must ultimately hand over powers. Observers on the ground say that the chance for a peaceful resolution is practically nil, with the government relying more and more on violence to get its way. It’s difficult to know the total number of death in total, but France believes that number to be over 6,000 since the conflict began over 11 months ago. The UN Human Rights group said they had stopped counting since it had become so difficult to get information from the Syrian government.

Overall, with the UN resolution blocked, and violence on the ground at an all time high, it’s likely that the death toll will keep going up for the foreseeable future. Even if a resolution were passed, there’s no enforcement power, and no military intervention planned, which means Syria would keep going the way it currently is. There’s little hope for the civilians currently stuck in the war zone.

Girl Censorship in Haredi Press 2012

In a weird story of religious based censorship, a local newspaper blurred the faces of little girls that appeared in a toy store ad, without telling the store, drawing the ire of both customers and the chain. It seemed that this newspaper, which should be somewhat neutral in the process, angered everybody, and now the toy store Red Pirate is paying the price for it. This is a report of the recent events in Beit Shemesh.

It all started with innocent sounding ads, where boys and girls modeled some Purim costumes for a series of ads. These ads were then sent to Haredim papers, and that’s where the trouble began. According to the store, the newspaper board of editors took the decision to blur the girls faces, while the boys stayed fully exposed, without ever telling them about it. The firs to find out were those who read the paper and were shocked to see the advertisement. It didn’t take for many people in Beit Shemesh, where the papers are produced, to flock to the Red Pirate Facebook page and complain. One writes “I am a woman with a face, now I’ll know not to buy from your store!” Another asks “How disgusting.. Do you also spit on little girls?” The Facebook page in question was still growing daily with disappointed girls posting their thoughts.

Red Pirate meanwhile has to deal with the angry customers, while it claims it actually knew nothing of the situation. In a press release, the chain says that the newspaper took the decision and did not tell them about it. Meanwhile, the ultra-orthodox paper responds “Haredim won’t have an unclean paper enter their home.” indicating that it was done purposely. The protest meanwhile grew to impressive proportions in the community, and has no sign of stopping. It remains to be seen whether the paper will change it’s views or not on the issue, and whether the store will try to get financial reparation from Haredim. These types of cases often end up in court, as the store will no doubt suffer from loss sales because of this. Historically, there’s been many such calls for action from protest groups, and the stores affected usually see drops in sales.

This isn’t the first time religious based decisions lead to anger, and likely won’t be the last. Many religious texts prone things that have become known as unjust in modern civilizations, such as inequalities between men and women, or archaic practices. Often however, these religions change much slower than many would like to. One thing is certain, this event is more than likely not over, and we’ll see how each party handles this issue in the future.

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