A strictly Orthodox singer has been criticised after he used tape to cover his eyes while performing at a women’s music event in Jerusalem.
Yonatan Razel, an American-born Israeli songwriter, took the “personal decision” to put the black tape across his eyes while groups of festival-going frum women danced in front of him.
One of Israel’s most popular Charedi singers, Mr Razel was condemned by women’s rights groups but was believed to have taken the decision to avert his gaze for modesty reasons in keeping with his religious beliefs.
The concert was part of a festival of strictly Orthodox music for women. Footage from the gig posted on Twitter shows the crowd dancing in front of the music star.
Mr Razel was also shown on Israeli television playing his keyboard and singing at the International Conference Centre on Sunday. The tape was reportedly across his eyes for one song.
In a statement, the singer’s representatives said his face was uncovered “for the entire performance”.
The statement added: “The part in which he is seen with his eyes covered happened for mere minutes, when women formed dance circles at the foot of the stage.
“This was his personal decision so as not to remain with uncovered eyes in front of the dancing women. Afterwards, he removed the covering and continued to perform.”
But on Facebook, Galia Wolloch, president of the Na’amat group, wrote: “How far will this ostensibly religious extremism go? And who are the religious authorities who encourage this bizarre behaviour?”