JERUSALEM – Israel’s election watchdog told an ultra-Orthodox city on Wednesday that it has to allow campaign posters of politician women.
The Central Election Committee (CEC) ruled that Bnei Brak authorities were discriminatory when they banned images of Tamar Zandberg, leader of the Meretz party.
Meretz and the Israel Women’s Network launched a joint complaint after the municipality refused to show posters featuring female candidates for the general elections, due to take place on April 9.
Meretz said in a statement that it will “continue to fight for the future of the State of Israel” and be like “a wall” against anyone who tries to take Israel “hundreds of years back.”
Judge Hanan Melcer, CEC Chairman, issued an order allowing the images and warned that if the ruling is disobeyed all electoral publicity in the city could be banned.
He also imposed legal costs of around 7,500 shekels ($2,000) on the Bnei Brak municipality, which will be paid to the complainants.
Bnei Brak is an ultra-Orthodox Jewish city on the outskirts of Tel Aviv.
It came around a month after a lawsuit was launched against Swedish furniture store Ikea for gender discrimination after it removed women from one of its catalogs in 2017.
The complaint was filed at the Jerusalem District Court by an Orthodox woman and the Israel Religious Action Center in February, local newspaper Haaretz reported.
Ikea could be forced to pay compensation of around 363 euros ($414) to some 10,000 women who received the so-called “kosher catalogs,” which were distributed in Israel.
The advertising booklets contained photographs of men and boys but none of women or girls.
It was directed at ultra-Orthodox Jews, also known as Haredi, some of whom follow a policy of gender segregation.
Haredi is one of the strictest ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities in Israel.
It is common for adverts in the community to remove images of women and girls.
The Ikea case came after another lawsuit involving Israeli Orthodox women.
Last September, Israeli courts sentenced an ultra-Orthodox radio to pay a fine of 238,000 euros ($271,112) for excluding women from their broadcasts.