Feminist campaign hits Jerusalem buses to compensate for defaced mayoral posters
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Feminist campaign hits Jerusalem buses to compensate for defaced mayoral posters

After ultra-Orthodox vandalized her mayoral banners last summer, Rachel Azaria launches ‘I dream’ drive which envisions society without discrimination against women

Stuart Winer is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Ultra-Orthodox protesters vandalize an election poster of Jerusalem mayor candidate MK Rachel Azaria in Jerusalem's Mea Shearim neighborhood on July 26, 2018. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Ultra-Orthodox protesters vandalize an election poster of Jerusalem mayor candidate MK Rachel Azaria in Jerusalem's Mea Shearim neighborhood on July 26, 2018. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

A would-be mayor of Jerusalem, who saw her campaign posters defaced by ultra-Orthodox vandals, has hit back by launching a women’s rights campaign on buses which began Sunday in the capital.

The drive, which will run for two weeks, was agreed on as a form of compensation by Cnaan Media for the disrupted election campaign of Kulanu party MK Rachel Azaria, who had run for mayor but ultimately pulled out of the race before the October elections.

Posters will be displayed on 50 buses across the capital for a period of two weeks, Azaria tweeted Saturday. The posters under the title “I have a dream” will envision a society in which women are not discriminated against on various issues.

Campaign slogans include “I have a dream that there will no longer be any women denied a get” with a photograph of Azaria, a reference to the current situation in Israel under which women can only obtain a divorce if their husbands agree, in accordance with religious tradition.

Other posters will declare “I have a dream that a woman’s wage will match that of a man’s” with a photo of former education minister Limor Livnat and “I have a dream that every woman will feel safe in the public space” with a photo of Nili Phillip who led a campaign against ultra-Orthodox signs in Beit Shemesh that called for women to dress modestly and not walk on some parts of the streets.

The posters will also highlight issues of sexual violence and women’s rights in the workplace.

“I am happy about the mutual agreements and values ​​that Cnaan and I have reached, and about embarking on a joint campaign in honor of International Women’s Day, a campaign that calls for making the dream a reality,” Azaria said in a statement reported by Channel 12.

International Women’s Day this year falls on Friday, March 8.

Kulanu MK and Jerusalem mayoral candidate Rachel Azaria (Courtesy)

The rights campaign is also partnered with WIZO, Naamat, Kolech, Emunah, and Israel Women’s Network.

Last July, Azaria was in the running for mayor of the capital and hired the Cnaan Media company to put campaign posters on Jerusalem buses. However, in some ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods, the posters were defaced by protesters because they featured Azaria’s photo.

At the time Azaria asked for more posters to be put up, or to only be billed for the period of time that the posters were displayed before being vandalized, Channel 12 reported. When Cnaan Media refused, a legal dispute opened between the two sides who eventually agreed on the joint social activism campaign pushing women’s rights instead.

While ultra-Orthodox communities abhor the public display of images of women due to modesty restrictions, rights groups argue it is discrimination by denying women the right to be represented in public places.

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