Angela Merkel, one of the supporters of the Paris city wide march in response to the harsh Hebdo tragedy, was cut from the photos that appeared in one particular newspaper. The daily paper is titled HaMevaser, an ultra-Orthodox Jewish product. The Israeli print news service never shows women, and sometimes even neglecting to write their names down in the stories, themselves. The journal’s oversight was originally detected by another Israeli paper, Walla.
HaMevaser did not bother to blur or white out her image, but completely photoshopped and moved elements of the images around so that readers would not be able to tell that Merkel was ever there. However, upon closer inspection, there are detectable flaws. A few misplaced hands, unknown men randomly placed throughout the photo, and discolored faces. In addition, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Chief, Federica Mogherini, and Anne Hidalgo, the Mayor of Paris, who called the entire city to respond to the Hebdo attacks were also absent from the image.
This is not the first time the paper has employed their policy of no female faces. They have even included the removal of world leaders, sometimes at the cost of the story’s influence on the community. An ultra-Orthodox Brooklyn Jewish newspaper, Di Tzeitung, deleted the then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton from a picture of President Obama and his staff as they watched the recording of the Osama bin Laden raid. In that case, the paper was forced to issue a public apology.
In Jerusalem, advertisements that are labeled “immodest” often suffer vandalism by ultra-Orthodox Jews. Tourists that travel to the religious neighborhood, Mea Shaarim, are welcomed with signs that give warnings against dressing in a flashy manner. With such an extreme view on women, there is really no mystery as to why the paper went to such lengths to cut Angela Merkel from the published photo of the Paris march.
Yosef Haim, a resident of Mea Shaarim, believes that a woman’s image should never be displayed or paraded before men under any circumstances. He thinks that it is a positive thing for HaMevaser to cut out women, like Mayor Hidalgo. Binyamin Lipkin, editor of HaMevaser, said the newspaper is intended to be suitable for all audiences, including young children. He made the argument that it was not his wish to hide Merkel from the children, but the line cannot divide the paper, it must be all the way, or not at all. However, he also mentioned that it is not his desire to tarnish or disrespect the memories of victims of the attacks.
Shmuel Pappenhym, an ultra-Orthodox educator, argued that the community’s values must be preserved, but that the paper had crossed a line in this instance. Alternatives to cutting Angela Merkel from the photo could easily have been applied by simply taking a multitude of photos in the men only heavy sections of the Paris wide march. With respect to those memorialized by the march, the paper should issue an apology post-haste.
By Matthew Austin Bowers