3rd temple poster 311.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
A Pessah advertising campaign calling for the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem has been removed from Egged buses in the capital following complaints and threats of vandalism.
The Our Land of Israel group, which ordered the campaign, said it would sue Egged and Cnaan Advertising, the company that handles Egged’s advertising services, for breach of contract.
Posters featuring an artist’s rendition of the Temple alongside the quote “May the Temple be rebuilt swiftly in our lifetime” were placed on 200 Egged buses, on routes that travel through Jerusalem, including the eastern neighborhoods of the city.
According to Our Land of Israel’s Rabbi Shay Geffen, the posters went up before the holiday, but were removed eight days before the campaign was scheduled to end.
“To our sorrow, Egged backed down to pressures from left-wing and Arab organizations. They didn’t even notify us that they were taking down the posters,” said Geffen. He added that his organization planned to sue both Egged and Cnaan Advertising for NIS 1 million in damages over the canceled campaign.
“We might as well also remove all the Jewish holy books that call for the rebuilding of the Temple,” said Geffen sarcastically. “These are words that every Jew utters three times a day in their prayers. I’m surprised that an established company like Egged would react in this way.”
Our Land of Israel was founded by far-right activists Baruch Marzel and Rabbi Shalom Dov Wolpe in 2008. One of the group’s most controversial goals is the construction of a third Temple on Mount Moriah in Jerusalem, on the site where the first and second Temples once stood. The aim is controversial since the site currently houses the Aksa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock and is regarded by Muslims as the third holiest site in Islam.
Geffen rejected voices that called the campaign a provocation, saying it was merely a holiday blessing to the residents of the city. “If that’s the case, then the State of Israel itself is a provocation. Everything is a provocation except for what the Arabs do. They are angels who can do no wrong,” he said.
Egged spokesman Ron Ratner said that Egged had no say in the matter and referred requests for comment to the company in charge of renting out advertising space on the co-op’s buses.
“The advertising on Egged buses is in the hands of a private franchisee called Cnaan Advertising in Motion. In this case, Egged had no influence on the quality or content of advertising and any decisions regarding the placement or removal of advertising was made by them alone and apparently according to their business considerations,” said Ratner.
Cnaan Advertising’s sales and marketing deputy director Ohad Gably said the decision to remove the posters followed various complaints and threats of vandalism that were received at their offices.
“After the campaign went up our office began receiving many requests
from organizations and sectors demanding we remove the posters because
they were hurtful. In some cases the requests verged on threats. To my
regret and despite the financial losses the decision cost us, we were
forced to remove the campaign after deciding that we had no intention
to make matters worse and bring about the defacement of buses.”
Gably said that his company has worked with Wolpe on previous
campaigns, some of them similarly controversial, and had encountered no
difficulties and no threats.
“They can sue us or do whatever else they see fit and we will react
accordingly. We don’t want to be faced with damage to buses, the cost
of which the campaign won’t be able to cover,” Gably said.