Hareidi newspapers can’t be forced to publish elections ads for the first all-female Hareidi (ultra-Orthodox) party, the Supreme Court ruled Monday.
A lower court had ruled that the Hareidi daily Yated Neeman was wrong in refusing to publish an ad for the female party U’Bezhutan.
The court found that Yated Neeman had unfairly discriminated against U’Bezhutan by refusing to publish its ad solely because the party’s members are women, while publishing ads for other Hareidi parties.
U’Bezhutan was formed in protest of the fact that existing Hareidi parties exclude women from their party lists.
Yated Neeman’s editors argued that their rabbinic leadership opposes the U’Bezhutan party, and that a paper cannot be forced to print any party’s ad. The courts would not force a newspaper written for the Arab public to run ads for a Jewish nationalist party, they argued.
The Supreme Court accepted their argument and overturned the previous ruling.
U’Bezhutan has faced considerable difficulty getting its message out. Hareidi communities in Israel tend to eschew television and the internet, preferring to get their news from hareidi daily papers – but those papers have refused to give publicity to the women’s party, even in the form of paid advertising.