While there was much criticism over the absence of a high-profile representative of the American government at the anti-terror rally in Paris attended by over a million citizens and world leaders (Secretary of State Kerry came a week later with James Taylor in a much ridiculed better-never-than-late-half-assed gesture), a few female world leaders did represent their countries, but to a Haredi, or radical Orthodox Jewish publication, it was if they, like Obama, stayed home (perhaps where they belong in the first place?).
The chareidi publication, HaMevaser, founded by United Torah Judaism MK Meir Porush in 2009, photoshopped out women leaders in the interests of preserving modesty. Erased from the photo, lest they arouse male readers and cause them to sin, were Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, Denmark’s Prime Minister Hell Thorning-Schmidt, and most notably, the image of German Chancellor Angela Merkel who stood between French Prime Minister Francois Hollande and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas.
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The removal of women leaders provoked outraged responses as well as, predictably, satire from Jon Stewart’s Daily Show. Eliyahu Fink, a Rabbi at the Pacific Jewish Center, posted on Facebook that the faces should have been blurred rather than eliminated. Then he added that the purpose was not about “gawking” at women”They are telling their community that women have no place in society outside the home. Very sad and very disturbing.” However, Rabbi Fink, by saying the faces should have been blurred, is basically giving the message that, yes, women, can have a place in society outside the home as long as they are blurry.
Tablet magazine responded by placing Angela Merkel heads on the male, suited and suitable, bodies of those who attended the rally. Tablet magazine called it “The Million Merkel March.” Much better than a bunch of blurs.