Womanless Israeli IKEA catalog designed for ultra-Orthodox Jews draws criticism

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Womanless Israeli IKEA catalog designed for ultra-Orthodox Jews draws criticism

Swedish flat-pack furniture behemoth IKEA has suffered an online backlash after issuing a catalog, aimed at ultra-Orthodox Jews in Israel, which featured no women.

The brochure is specifically designed for the Haredi (Orthodox) community and depicts items men and boys with traditional side curls and wearing kippahs in a variety of domestic poses.

The items include bunk beds and bookcases lined with religious texts, display cases with Shabbat candlesticks and tables set for the Sabbath meal, but not a single woman or girl is featured.

The Haredi make up roughly 11 percent of Israel’s population of 8.5 million and are known for the absence of women in their media.

The furniture giant told the Times of Israel that they issued the catalog following a number of requests to do so. “We decided to launch a dedicated and unique magazine that also allows the Haredi and religious public the benefit of enjoying the products and solutions IKEA offers in accordance with their lifestyle,” IKEA said.

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In another statement to Religion News Service, however, the company seemed to regret publishing the catalog, stating that they “realize that people are upset about this and that the publication does not live up to what IKEA stands for and we apologize for this.”

“We will make sure that future publications will reflect what IKEA stands for and at the same time show respect for Haredi community,” it adds.

This is not the first time the company has come under fire for omitting women from its publications. In 2012 the company issued an apology for photoshopping women out of the catalogs distributed in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

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