Singer Yonatan Razel speaks out on 'modesty' controversy

More than two months after he caused a furor by covering his eyes with masking tape during a concert, Yonatan Razel speaks out.

Tzvi Lev ,

Yonatan Razel
Yonatan Razel
Yoni Kempinski

Jewish music superstar Yonatan Razel said that he didn't mean to offend women when he shielded his eyes with masking tape during a women-only concert last December.

Razel had caused a furor when pictures of him performing with black tape over his eyes at a concert in Jerusalem's International Convention Center surfaced. In an interview with Hadashot, Razel said that he had not meant to insult women and had only applied the masking tape to his eyes in order to allow women to dance freely, something which Jewish law forbids men from viewing.

"I completely understand a woman who is offended by me and I ask forgiveness from those who have been insulted," said Razel, adding that "I would never do anything to hurt anyone. The goal was to allow everyone to rejoice."

Razel said that in the beginning he only closed his eyes when the women started dancing "but then I saw that there were women who were only sitting and I wanted to let them to dance and be happy so I put on the masking tape".

Razel said that he didn't think much about the masking tape and was taken by surprise when the subsequent controversy erupted. "At that time, there was no furor and none of the women there said a word.The next morning I went to Kollel and when I returned I saw that I had 50 missed calls," recounted Razel.

"At first I wanted to respond and tell everyone that no one was offended but I decided not to because it was sensitive," added Razel.

The award-winning performer had come under attack after pictures of him playing piano with large black tape on his eyes first surfaced, with many people attacking Razel for what they said was his extreme behavior. "How far will this ostensibly religious extremism go?” wrote Galia Wolloch, who heads the Naa'mat feminist group. “And who are the religious authorities who encourage this bizarre behavior?”