What does one do in order to avoid blurring the faces of little girls in Purim
costume ads? Very simple: Show boys only.
After being criticized in recent years for concealing girls' faces
for "modesty reasons" or replacing them with dolls, this year some Israeli toy stores have decided to completely remove pictures of girls from their advertisements.
Ads published by some chains in ultra-Orthodox newspapers in recent weeks are surprisingly missing costumes which were included in their ads in the past, although these costumes are still on sale.
For example, the biblical matriarch Rachel and even Queen Esther are absent from the ads this year, as part of an ongoing trend in the haredi media not to publish pictures of women or feminine clothing items.
Last year, girls were blurred (upper photo) – this year, they're gone
Religious Jews belonging to moderate factions are protesting the haredi press' radicalization, which they say has reached the "exclusion of four-year-old girls," but are also criticizing ads showing young girls in revealing costumes in the general press, which they say "border on pornography."
Religious-Zionist movement Ne'emanei Torah Va'Avodah, for example, responded cynically to the two extreme phenomena: "It appears that there are those who prefer to read only the parts related to Ahasuerus' feasts in the Book of Esther, while on the other hand there are those who completely hide Esther.
"The despicable treatment of women, on both sides, strengthens extremism and creates a public domain which ranges between over-conservatism and over-permissiveness. The public is responsible for designing a road in the middle, which respects human beings and does not see them as an object."