(VIDEO IN EXTENDED ARTICLE)
A video of a popular Chareidi singer and songwriter performing onstage with his eyes covered has elicited strong responses.
Yonatan Razel was playing his keyboard and singing at a concert at Binyanei Hauma in Yerushalyim on Sunday night, when he put the tape over his eyes during one song as women in the audience began to dance. Video of the incident was played on Hadashot television news.
Razel is an American-born musician, and one of most popular Chareidi performers in Israel. He recently released his third album.
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.
Bechadrei Chareidim reports Razel has covered his eyes at a concert in the past, about a year ago while performing in Shiloh.
Razel issued the following response: “Yonatan Razel’s face was uncovered for the entire performance. 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.”
Galia Wolloch, president of Israeli women’s rights organization Na’amat, slammed the singer for his extreme behavior.
“How far will this ostensibly religious extremism go?” she wrote on Facebook. “And who are the religious authorities who encourage this bizarre behavior?”
יונתן רזאל הופיע אמש בבנייני האומה עם כיסוי על העיניים – כדי לא לראות את הנשים בקהל. את הוידאו אגב צילמה אישה: ח.ע pic.twitter.com/BHV6lhe0hs
— Ran Boker (@ranboker) December 4, 2017
— yuval ungar (@YuvalUngar) December 4, 2017
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)