Nili Philipp, Miriam Zussman, Rachely Schloss and Dr. Eve Finkelstein made headlines recently when they won a trial against the municipality over modesty signs in the Ramat Beit Shemesh Bet neighborhood. After receiving the money from the municipality last month, the four decided to invest it in their ongoing struggle against the exclusion of women.
"We will donate the money for causes in favor of the public and women of Beit Shemesh," they stated. "Many things can be done with such a sum. It's a shame we don’t have a million shekels."
Their first goal, they say, is to fight the city's radical ultra-Orthodox newspapers, which ban pictures of women and even of little girls.
"There are female real estate agents who are not allowed to include their picture in their ads, as real estate agents do. It hurts their business. Agents include their picture in their ads for a reason – it has a psychological effect. It gives the client a sense of familiarity and security," says Dr. Finkelstein.
According to Finkelstein, the haredi newspaper editors claim that they are being threatened, but refuse to clearly say who is threatening them. "They say they are being threatened? Well, we'll threaten them with the law," she states.
The four women's struggle began several weeks ago when they published an ad in Beit Shemesh's newspapers showing a girl asking her mother, "Why was that girl's face erased?" Under the picture they posted a red stop sign with the caption, "It's time to stop the insanity."
The women say they have been receiving many appeals from other women who say they are being excluded from the public domain. "We won't let Beit Shemesh turn into a Taliban city," they vow.