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c. 2011 Religion News Service

JERUSALEM (RNS) An ultra-Orthodox Jewish newspaper in Brooklyn has apologized to the White House and State Department after the paper deleted Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton from a White House photograph of top officials monitoring the raid that killed Osama bin Laden.

The Yiddish-language Di Tzeitung removed Clinton and Audrey Tomason, a top counterterrorism adviser, from the iconic photo that depicts the White House’s Situation Room during the May 1 raid on bin Laden’s Pakistani compound.

The doctored photo was first noted on Failed Messiah, a Jewish blog.

In a statement Monday (May 9), the paper said it has “a long-standing editorial policy” not to include images of women in its pages, but rejected as “malicious slander” the idea that Orthodox Jews “denigrate women or do not respect women in public office.”

“The readership of the Tzeitung believe that women should be appreciated for what they are and what they do, not for what they look like, and the Jewish laws of modesty are an expression of respect for women, not the opposite,” the editors said.

“In retrospect, we apologize for any misunderstanding that this might have caused,” the paper said. “We should not have published the altered picture, and we have conveyed our regrets and apologies to the White House and to the State Department.”

Although the altered White House photo has gained worldwide attention, ultra-Orthodox newspapers routinely delete women from group photographs. The vast majority of ultra-Orthodox Jews do not watch TV, read only their communities’ newspapers, and rarely surf the Internet.

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