Yonatan Razel, an an ultra-Orthodox Jewish singer who performed at a concert for women only in Jerusalem on Sunday did something quite grotesque when members of the audience began dancing. He covered his eyes with black masking tape.
An organiser of the concert, which was part of a festival of ultra-Orthodox music for women, said that Razel covered his eyes for a few minutes only.
The scene in which he is seen to be covering his eyes took place for only a few minutes, when there were circles of women dancing at the foot of the stage. It was his personal decision, so as not to sit with his eyes open in front of the dancing women. Then he removed the tape and continued the concert normally.
After a video of the incident was played on Hadashot television news Galia Wolloch, President of Israeli women’s rights organization Na’amat, slammed the singer for his extreme behavior in a Facebook post.
According to this report, the video has divided many in Israel, with some praising Razel’s actions while others say if he had an issue then he should not have accepted the money to perform at the concert.
How far will this ostensibly religious extremism go? And who are the religious authorities who encourage this bizarre behavior?
Jewish website Bechadrei Chareidim reported that Razel had covered his eyes at a concert in the past, about a year ago while performing in Shiloh.
There have not been other incidents of Haredi singers covering their eyes in this way in front of the all-female crowd.
A representative of the singer downplayed the incident.
Razel wants to say that he has appeared regularly for years before women and respects them, and his actions yesterday should not be given any other significance.
Hat tip: Michael Cohen