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Women Reappear on Jerusalem Bus Ads

Following a ruling from the Israeli Supreme Court, ads return

Adam Chandler
August 09, 2012

After years of being absent from bus ads in Jerusalem, today is the day that the ladies are back! Following a petition by the group Yerushalmim, the Israeli Supreme Court ruled that advertisers could not ban the image of women on buses. In recent years, buses (as well as movie theaters) have featured women less and less in their ads because the ads had been subjected to vandalism or the ad companies had sought to mollify religious communities who remain sensitive to images of women.

On Thursday, “Yerushalmim” – literally Jerusalemites — launched an ad campaign to underline the victory. The new ads show four smiling women, with the slogan: “Women of Jerusalem, nice to meet you.” In smaller letters, the ads add: “Because Jerusalem is for everyone.”

Anyone who’s spent time in Israel knows how central bus travel is to the country. It seems fitting that the interplay between religion and censorship as well as the other extremely divisive issue of requiring men and women to be separated have played out on the method of conveyance by which most Israelis interact.

Adam Chandler was previously a staff writer at Tablet. His work has appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Atlantic, Slate, Esquire, New York, and elsewhere. He tweets @allmychandler.