Cityfront: Attacking violence

A new program by the Ministry of Public Security aims to "confront all types of violence on a city-wide level."

After coming to a temporary standstill following the recent snowfall, Jerusalem buses are back on the road. Once the snow melted, passengers and pedestrians were once again able to see the advertisements glued to the sides of the Egged fleet which, in recent weeks, included a new poster campaign declaring "No entry to violence." Some pedestrians gazed in bemusement at the collage of quotes on passing buses which include "Shut up, loser," "Whom did you call garbage?" and "Want a slap?" Indeed, trying to board buses in Israel can be a dangerous task, often dodging elbows and raised voices. The posters are part of a nationwide "City Without Violence" program run by the Ministry of Public Security, which aims to "confront all types of violence on a city-wide level, including domestic violence, road violence, adult violence, school violence and criminal violence," according to the ministry Web site. Rather than tackling the symptoms of rising levels of urban violence in Israel, it has the ambitious goal of "changing the social climate and behavioral norms in Israeli society." The program was initially launched in September 2006 as a pilot project in Eilat. Since then, the ministry says, levels of violence have dropped by between 20 and 50 percent. Last March the project was also rolled out in Tiberias, Upper Nazareth, Acre, Hadera, Netanya, Ashkelon, Ramle, Bat Yam, Rahat and Ma'aleh Adumim. "The time has come to do something," implore the red and black posters. "The time has come to take responsibility. Come and take part in the struggle against violence." Until February 13 Jerusalemites were invited to enter a nationwide competition to design their own posters for the City Without Violence campaign. For more information, visit In addition to the ministry, the poster campaign is also supported by the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (IFCJ). The poster campaign's social message marks a departure from the advertisements or right-wing political rhetoric often pasted on city buses. Other campaigns in the past few months have included the Lubavitcher Rebbe warning against peace talks that would lead to the establishment of a Palestinian state. And during US President George W. Bush's visit to Jerusalem last month, his face was juxtaposed with that of Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh and Hizbullah chief Hassan Nassrallah on posters imploring "Free Your Captive," comparing Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard, incarcerated in a US jail, to IDF soldiers kidnapped by Islamist terror groups. But the cause celebre behind the latest poster campaign is not political, and carries an inclusive message for all of Jerusalem's residents: "In my city there is no entry to violence. Because our city is also our home."