‘Like she’s a Mossad agent’: Ultra-Orthodox Jewish news website mocked for blurring out face of female Israeli party leader

One of Israel’s leading ultra-Orthodox Jewish media outlets was mocked online for censoring the face of Labor Party chief Merav Michaeli, who is set to join the new government.

The news website Behadrei Haredim altered the photo illustrating a story about the so-called ‘unity’ or ‘change’ coalition – a bloc of eight parties that agreed to unseat Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu by forming a government together.

The outlet blurred out the face of Michaeli, the sole woman in the picture.

Ultra-Orthodox media typically censor or omit publishing images of women due to the religious and cultural beliefs of their audience.

The decision to censor Michaeli’s face was blasted and mocked online. “It’s like she’s a Mossad agent,” one person tweeted, referring to the practice of blurring out the faces of security and military personnel in order to conceal their identities.

Another Twitter user asked what the website will do when a woman becomes prime minister. “Are they just going to never show her picture ever, no matter how newsworthy?” the user wrote.

“That’s why they didn’t update their website during the Golda Meir era,” another person joked, referring to Israel’s PM from 1969 to 1974.

Haaretz newspaper cited Behadrei Haredim as fending off criticism by saying that “photographs of women may not be shown in our newspapers.”

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According to Israeli media, Michaeli is tapped to serve as transportation minister in the new government that will include a record-breaking eight women.

Under a rotation agreement, Naftali Bennett from the right-wing Yamina party will serve two years as PM and will hand over the second half of the four-year term to Yair Lapid from the centrist Yesh Atid party. The parliament is expected to vote on the new government on Sunday.

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