Last year, the city's first massive billboard ad was hung on the eastern side of the Knesset Towers Hotel, as reported in In Jerusalem ("Signs of the times," April 1, 2005). The 340-square-meter, 10-story color poster advertising Anise Kitchens took a team of climbers a full day to hang. Now, the municipal signs committee has agreed to allow new advertisements and billboards to be erected in six areas around the city. Signs on scaffolding at construction sites are also included in the agreement. Billboards and ads of all shapes and sizes will appear at the city entrance, Teddy Stadium area, Givat Shaul, Talpiot industrial zone and residential areas and Har Hotzvim. Deputy Mayor Yigal Amedi said that over the first year the city's revenue from the advertisements could reach the NIS 2 million mark, if not slightly more. "We know Jerusalem is a special city," Amedi said. "We don't want to be like Tel Aviv... We believe we can do it [place signs] nicely and it won't change Jerusalem." The municipality will oversee all aspects of the signs and billboards. It will designate the area and examine each ad to ensure the content is appropriate, given the unique sensitivities of Jerusalem's population, Amedi promised. "The city decides on only five or six places where signs can go and people can ask to put them there," said Amedi. "We don't want to do it all over the city." The size of the signs have to correspond with the size of the building. Advertising companies can approach the municipality about placing signs in the area. If they gain municipal approval, the company and building sign a contract, according to which the building owner will also earn a profit. But not everyone stands to gain from the massive advertisements. "I think there should be an outcry from within the city," said Zelda Harris, director of public relations for road-safety organization Metuna. "The signs are a distraction and you can't prove you took your eyes off the road in the event of a car accident." Harris also said that electronic signs cannot be ignored. "You have to look at it because it's moving, you can't ignore it." Critics also claim the placement of the signs will be detrimental to the environment. They propose that, since the city is using public airspace, a sizable portion of the profits should go toward improving the environment.

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