After years of censorship, women’s faces and even their bodies will be returning to ads placed on public buses in Israel’s capital. Canaan Media, the advertising agency with exclusive rights to place ads on Egged buses in Jerusalem, after years of refusing to post ads depicting women, has responded to intense legal and public pressure by agreeing to post ads for a nonprofit that do so.
After Years Of Censorship Caused by Haredi Violence, Women’s Faces To Return To Jerusalem Bus Ads
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
After years of censorship, women’s faces and even their bodies will be returning to ads placed on public buses in Israel’s capital.
Canaan Media, the advertising agency with exclusive rights to place ads on Egged buses in Jerusalem, after years of refusing to post ads depicting women, has responded to intense legal and public pressure by agreeing to post ads for a nonprofit that do so, Ha'aretz reports.
Canaan Media came under that public and legal scrutiny after its policy censoring women became public. Canaan Media refused to post any ads depicting women – even drawings of "modestly" clad women – due to haredi pressure and violence, including vandalism that cost the company and advertisers money.
Under the right wing government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, police did little to curtail haredi violence and forced gender segregation. It was only after a crying 8-year-old girl in Beit Shemesh recounted on national TV her terror at having to walk to school past abusive mobs of haredi men who spat on her, chased her down the street and called her “whore,” that the Israeli public rose up against haredi violence and forced Netanyahu’s government to take action.
But that action all but stopped once Tzipi Livni, the head of the centrist Kadima Party and a champion of women’s rights, was replaced by Shaul Mofaz as the Kadima Party head. Mofaz dropped the issue and police again largely stopped enforcing the law.
The new bus ads are for the N.G.O. Yerushalmim, which fights for an open Jerusalem and for the rights of women in the capital.
Eight months ago, Yerushalmim petitioned Israel's High Court of Justice to try to force Canaan Media to follow the law and post ads on Egged buses that depict women. In June, the government submitted a brief supporting Yerushalmim. Canaan Media responded at the time that it would study the government’s brief and take it under advisement.
But before the High Court could issue its ruling which would almost certainly have gone against Canaan Media, Canaan agreed to run the Yerushalmim ads.
“In light of the government's position, we have accepted the request to run the present ad campaign in the hope that the acts of vandalism that occurred in the past and caused serious financial damage to the company will not reoccur," Canaan CEO Ohad Gibli told Ha’aretz. "Canaan is a company that respects the feelings of all groups within society – secular as well as religious, and we hope that the public in Jerusalem will display tolerance and sensitivity towards each other."