Central bus station in Jerusalem.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Following a contentious and protracted legal battle led by the Yerushalmiot movement to include women’s images in advertisements on Egged buses in the capital – despite occasionally violent protestations by radical haredi factions – Egged reinstituted the practice on Sunday.
The campaign to reinstate the images was spearheaded by Yerushalmiot head Shira Katz-Vinkler, and Deputy Mayor Rachel Azaria (Yerushalmim), who holds the education and women’s rights portfolio, and whose own picture was once barred from buses during a political campaign six years ago.
At the time of her campaign, Egged refused to include her image, fearing a violent backlash from extreme haredi sectors, which routinely tore down such advertisements and threw rocks at the buses carrying them.
Noting the prevalence of hardei vandalism against buses with women’s images affixed to them, the government agreed to compensate Egged for any damage caused by the reinstituted practice.
In a statement, Yerushalmiot described the court’s decision as a victory for pluralism and tolerance in the capital.
“We will continue to safeguard and protect the city from any case of exclusion or censorship of women,” the faction said.
The new ads, which were paid for by the New Israel Fund and National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW), feature secular, religious, Arab and haredi women.