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Israeli women’s group sues guys-only orthodox radio station

Happy Kol Barama guys

One thing that stands out when you look at the website for Kol Barama, Jerusalem’s haredi community radio station: lots of pictures of guys—guys praying and talking, guys playing guitars, and guys listening with headphones. Even the news photos only seem to show men.

This week, Kolech, an Israeli religious organization for women, decided that they’d had enough with the all-guys-all-the-time business, and filed a class action lawsuit against the orthodox  station.

Since Kol Barama began in 2009, “women’s voices were completely silenced,” the suit filed in Jerusalem says. “At all hours, only men are heard in the station’s programs. A woman who wishes to be interviewed is refused, and is requested to send a fax to the station, which is read by the presenter.”

How hard core is the station about this? Kol Barama does have a women’s show. It’s called Wonderwoman, and, you guessed it, the program appears to be entirely hosted by guys: “Rabbi Avner Kvas, chef Avi Steinitz, Mr. Solomon Gilberg – multidisciplinary therapist, author Kobi Levi – author of the book series ‘journalist,’ and many more.”

Maybe they should call the show wonder-where-the-women-went? Editorial comment: this is ridiculous. The operation was always controversial, but tensions rose in May after the signal petitioned Israel’s regulatory authority to reduce broadcast hours for women hosts from six to four, and was (!!!) granted the request. The New Israel Fund ran an e-mail campaign charging that women were effectively banned from the station.

Ditto, says the lawsuit:

“Kol Berama refuses to allow women on the air on any topic, whether it is regarding a news item, expressing an opinion on a particular issue or raising a question. As religious women, we see no connection whatsoever in refusing to allow women on the air and Jewish law.

The fact that in the name of Jewish law, women are excluded from the public realm, contradicts the value of human dignity and the perspective that women, like men, were created in the image of God.”

No surprise Kol Berama is crying foul. The station has “allowed any female public figure who wanted to be interviewed to do so, as well as providing for female listeners to speak on air in some programs,” a representative told the Jerusalem Post.

Here’s the Tune-In link. If you hear any women, give us a hollar.

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