Yerushalmim wins bus brawl
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Yerushalmim wins bus brawl

High Court rules in favor of bus ads featuring women of all types

Jessica Steinberg covers the Sabra scene from south to north and back to the center.

The Yerushalmim party's latest Egged bus poster in the campaign against segregation in the public sphere (photo credit: Courtesy Yerushalmim)
The Yerushalmim party's latest Egged bus poster in the campaign against segregation in the public sphere (photo credit: Courtesy Yerushalmim)

It would appear that Jerusalem Deputy Mayor Rachel Azaria and the Yerushalmim party won the latest round in the High Court of Justice battle to allow pictures of women on Egged bus advertisements in Jerusalem and Beit Shemesh.

In celebration, the party posted a new advertisement on the back of a bus, featuring six different Jerusalem women of all types. The ad reads, “Jerusalem women, nice to meet you.”

According to Azaria, the High Court win “closes a circle.”

The Yerushalmim party was founded in 2008 by Azaria with the aim of turning Jerusalem into a more pluralistic city.

“We worked to stop this threat of the exclusion of women and we won,” she said. “I call to organizations and companies to advertise with photos of women on buses, because Jerusalem doesn’t exclude women.”

At City Hall (Courtesy Rachel Azaria/Facebook)
Rachel Azaria at City Hall (Courtesy Rachel Azaria/Facebook)

The Yerushalmim-led battle against Egged, its ad agency Canaan and the state has been going on for more than two years.

The Egged bus company has refrained from placing women in its advertisements in Jerusalem and Beit Shemesh over concerns the images would offend its sizable ultra-Orthodox clientele.

In August 2012, the Yerushalmim (Jerusalemites) party submitted a petition to the High Court, which soon after ruled the bus company could not bar women from its ads.

The Yerushalmim group subsequently launched an ad campaign in the capital to underline the victory. The new ads showed four smiling women, with the slogan: “Women of Jerusalem, nice to meet you.” And in smaller print: “Because Jerusalem is for everyone.”

Advertising the female residents of Jerusalem (photo credit: courtesy of Yerushalmim)
Advertising the female residents of Jerusalem (photo credit: Courtesy Yerushalmim party)

But the party claimed that the Canaan ad agency had covered up the bare arms of the women in the photos, spurring them to pull the campaign.

Egged ended up withdrawing all photos of people — male and female — from its bus ads to comply with the court order, which led the Yerushalmim to petition again to the High Court.

Now, said Azaria, “we won.”

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