We have yet another triumph of Orthodoxy in the removal of all female cabinet members from an official picture with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. There are three new female cabinet members — Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, Culture Minister Miri Regev and Minister for Senior Citizens Gila Gamliel — but you would never know it from the pictures in Jewish ultra-Orthodox publications which either removed them or even replaced them in the shot with male cabinet members.
One publication appears to have pixelated the faces of the women while others edited them out. You will recall recently how such publications removed the image of German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Ironically, ultra-Orthodox and Orthodox parties were allies of Netanyahu in the recent election, but balked at showing his full cabinet team. In airbrushing away of the new Justice Minister and first-ever minister of gender equality (Gamliel) completed the overwhelming irony.
Many Orthodox publications simply refused to publish the picture due to the inclusion of the women.
Yomleyom, an ultra-Orthodox weekly newspaper run by the Shas political party, actually transplanted a man in the place of one of the women. Yomleyom’s deputy editor, Rabbi Moshe Shafir, did not see anything ridiculous in the exercise and explained “We honor the women specifically because of their special merits and we have reservation from looking upon women as an object.” In other words, we value them so much that we delete them from historic photos and government images. Call it elevation through elimination.