JERUSALEM (JTA) — The faces of young girls modeling Purim costumes in a toy store ad were blurred in a haredi Orthodox newspaper in Beit Shemesh.
The Red Pirate toy store chain said the ads in the Hadash BeBeit Shemeh newspaper were altered without its knowledge, Ynet reported. The faces of boys in costume were not altered.
The chain issued a statement saying that the newspaper’s kashrut supervisor decided to blur the ad. The statement also apologized to anyone who was offended by the ad, according to Ynet.
Hadash BeBeit Shemeh responded with a statement saying that "This is not a case of women’s exclusion or girls’ exclusion. The ads were blurred by the advertising company, at our request, out of respect to our readers — both men and women — who want to receive a paper which matches their worldview and lifestyle. The attempts made by people who are not part of the haredi public to meddle in the desires of a different public are pathetic and doomed to fail, as haredi readers will not bring an unclean newspaper into their home."
In response, some Beit Shemesh residents upset by the ad have urged consumers to boycott Red Pirate stores, Ynet reported.
Beit Shemesh, a Jerusalem suburb of 80,000, has been the site of intense conflict over gender separation and female modesty issues.