It’s just the prize that every seven-year-old girl wants. Not a teen-pop record or a Barbie doll, but a sticker with the faces of her male contemporaries.
Take kids to the physician here in Israel and they are often rewarded for their cooperation with a sticker. If you belong to the Clalit health maintenance organization, the stickers have pictures illustrating the message, such as a recuperating child with the message “get well soon.” But the stickers bearing the message “good girl” distributed in some parts of Israel are illustrated with a picture of four boys.
This wasn’t a mess-up at the printers, but rather an intentional move to respect the Haredi practice of not publishing photographs of women. The stickers in question are distributed in predominantly Haredi areas.
It seems to be segregation season in Israel at the moment. As we reported last week there was stricter-than-normal segregation at the Western Wall over Sukkot. And as the Sisterhood noted, female soldiers were marginalized at an Israel Defense Forces Simchat Torah celebration last week, and women seem to be disappearing from advertisements in Jerusalem.
Back to the stickers: Isn’t there an irony here, if the objective is to stop boys and girls clapping eyes on each other? Haredi girls go to girls’ schools and rarely encounter boys. If they have stickers with girls on them, boys aren’t going to see them. Instead, they have stickers with boys on them… and spend the whole day after their doctor visit showing all their girl friends a picture of four boys.