An Israeli fashion magazine called BelleMode is set to publish a provocative spread that will surely upset the conservative Haredim, or ultra-Orthodox contingency. The spread features a number of scantily clad men and women posing provocatively (and sexily!) in outfits that resemble the clothing favored by Haredim, except with some minor differences. Like, some of the shirts are see-through. And some of the models have forgotten to wear their pants. More of the pics available here.

Adding to the provocation, all of the photos are set inside a bus, a cheeky nod to the ultra-Orthodox community's rabid efforts to maintain a strict separation of sexes on buses that pass through their neighborhoods. Additionally, in one of the photos the female model appears with tape over her mouth, but no one ever accused fashion industry types of getting their point across in a subtle manner.

There have been some recent incidents involving religious types trying to impose their will on more secular Israelis. To simplify things,the fashion spread is the equivalent of the left leaning and cosmopolitan crowd associated with Tel-aviv crowd responding to the more conservative, religious crowd typically associated with Jerusalem. While the Arab Spring continues around it and the Occupation regretfully shows no signs of stopping, lost is the struggle that Israeli society is undergoing as the ideals of religious sects clash with those who want a more progressive, secular state.

My Hebrew is a little rusty so I had a friend translate this behind the scene video for me, and the editor says the following:

The subject of a woman's appearance is very bothersome in the media. My feeling is, that in the fashion industry, women have a lot of power, they are at the center. We took that power and decided to centralize/funnel it into a fashion production - that's both inspired and against a woman's appearance, to bring all the stuff that's most irritating to us — the bus banishments, silencing of singing - to bring it and make a production that walks a fine line between being very closed and modest to ripped wide open and sexy. As long as it's being done in good taste and doesn't harm the woman, I don't see any problem, that there will be fashion productions. Even if it's a little sexy - it only attracts and is interesting. When there is a subject like this - it's worth it to be even more cheeky and provocative. So the message is heard through the power of a woman.

Pretty sure what she meant to say is, "Religious fundamentalists of all types are dickheads, and if they try to dictate to us how to live our lives we are going to mock them as much as possible and do whatever we can to throw it back in their faces."

At least, that's what she should have said.

[pic and article via Jewschool]