The question is will the return of women to Jerusalem bus ads signal the new battlefront as chareidim and secularists fight to control the character of Yerushalayim. The first advertisements with women were sponsored by the Yerushalmi Party in the city, a party which seeks to preserve the holy city as an open pluralistic city; one that is friendly to Jews, non-Jews, frum and secular alike.
After a long battle that included vandalism attacks against bus posters and bus stops, Egged decided to cease showing women in ads in the capital. It instructed the Cnan Company which sells the adverts to act in accordance with the policy decision. That led to shouts of discrimination against Egged since men appeared in ads but not women. The Yerushalmi Party turned to the Supreme Court on the basis of discrimination against woman. Egged responded with a new policy decision, to ban both men and women to eliminate fear of discrimination. This did not last long however. After the state agreed to make compensatory payment to Egged for the vandalism damage to buses, Egged capitulated. This paved the way for the return of women to the bus ads as the state promises Egged it will underwrite paying for damages to buses should vandalism attacks resume.
Yerushalmi proudly released a message, that “Jerusalem women, secular, religious, chareidi, Jewish and Arab are proudly displayed without discrimination or censor on buses in the capital of Israel…”
Many believe the extremist elements in the chareidi tzibur will view the renewal of bus ads with men and women appearing, at times in a less than modest fashion, will mark the renewal of vandalism attacks.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)