Four years ago, a lawsuit was filed by an Orthodox feminist group called Kolech, which means “Your Voice” in the Hebrew feminine. It was one of the biggest class-action lawsuits in Israeli history, and it targeted what was then an all-male, ultra-Orthodox radio station called Kol Barama, founded in 2009.
The discrimination lawsuit went all the way to Israel’s highest court, and in late 2014, the women won. […]
Kol Barama declined NPR’s requests for an interview. Under court order, it recently allowed women on call-in shows. They used to have to fax their questions to be read on-air by a man or child.
Now, for two hours each Friday, the husband-and-wife team of Ortal and Nir Kaptan host a program about family values called “Women of Valor.” The station says the program presents the news “from the point of view of a Torah-observant couple.” One recent episode included discussions about children’s education, how to keep a peaceful atmosphere in the home, health, fitness and recipes.
“Kol Barama is making it a priority to give a voice to women of valor,” Ariel Deri, the station’s CEO, said in a written statement. […]
“If you ask the female listeners of Kol Barama, I think you would find that 90 percent of the women in the community would say there’s no need to broadcast women if it goes against tradition,” [Meni Schwartz] says, gesturing at the ultra-Orthodox neighborhood just outside the window of his office in Bnei Brak, a religious community north of Tel Aviv.