Shas is forced to remove bus election ads

Egged ‘mistakenly’ featured pictures of Netanyahu, Liberman after ads with people banned to prevent discrimination.

By MELANIE LIDMAN
December 12, 2012 03:29
2 minute read.
Shas election ad with Netanyahu picture

Shas election ad with Netanyahu picture 370 (R). (photo credit: Courtesy of Shas)

 
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After Shas unveiled its political campaign on Monday night, the ultra-Orthodox party was surprised to learn that their campaign posters would be stripped from all Egged buses.

The Shas advertisements featured pictures of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman with the slogans “Only Shas is strong enough to protect the weak” and “Only Shas is strong enough to stop assimilation.”

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Egged advertisements can no longer feature people, after a fight over discrimination against women ended with the decision to bar all humans featured in bus advertisements altogether.

Cnaan, the company responsible for the bus ads, claims that in the past, haredi extremists have defaced buses with paint and stones and even set an empty bus on fire because of ads featuring images of women they deemed “immodest.”

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As a result, it refused to run any advertisements with women, insisting it would cause the company financial damage.

The Jerusalemites Movement fought this decision in a number of appeals to the High Court of Justice, claiming that Cnaan was discriminating against women.



After the Transportation Ministry said it would refuse to work with any companies that discriminate based on gender on July 11, legal advisers from Egged and Cnaan decided the best course of action would be to remove any people from bus advertisements. On August 1, the company began removing all ads featuring people.

“We took them off, it was a mistake,” said a Cnaan spokesman. He added that all the campaign posters were removed by Tuesday afternoon, and that the company was “absolutely” sticking with their decision not to have any people on bus ads.

City Councilor Rachel Azaria (Jerusalemites Movement) called the incident “very ironic.”

“When they said they didn’t want women on buses, we didn’t think that Shas would pay the price,” she said.

“This is what got me involved in the campaign against discrimination against women in the first place,” Azaria added. In 2008, the city councilor turned to the High Court after Cnaan refused to put her campaign advertisements on buses because they featured a photo of Azaria. The High Court forced Cnaan to run the ads just three days before the municipal election.

The Shas bus campaign also ruffled feathers by featuring Liberman in a black kippa traditionally worn by haredim. The foreign minister has been an outspoken advocate of encouraging the ultra-Orthodox to enlist in the IDF.

A Yisrael Beytenu spokesman pointed out that Liberman was at a Deri family wedding when the photo was taken because the two are friends. He added that it is “hypocritical” to attack Liberman in the way the posters do.

The Shas spokesman refused to comment on the campaign.

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