Last month, the Transport Ministry informed the High Court of Justice that it will not license transportation operators that discriminate against women in advertising. The Transport Ministry's announcement came as a result of a petition, filed by the Yerushalmim movement for a pluralistic Jerusalem, against the exclusion of women from ads displayed on public buses traveling in the capital.
"Egged and Canaan have decided that their way to deal with us is 'if you can't remove only women from ads – remove everyone,'" Rabbi Uri Ayalon of Yerushalmim told Ynet.
According to Ayalon, "It's an old trick: Excluding women under the guise of excluding men. We are familiar with that tactic as it's been used by others in the past. From now on, Jerusalem buses will not show posters of women, men and children, unlike anywhere else in the country. We're worried about the future of this city."
According to the Canaan advertizing company, it's all business. "As is any media company, we are business driven," Canaan CEO Ohad Gibli told Ynet.
"Following this ordeal, no one got what they wanted," Gibli continued, "Not Egged, not us and not the Yerushalmim. The decision brought Egged to put on fewer ads, which forced us to close one of our Jerusalem offices and employees lost their jobs. As a small company, we can't afford to carry the conflict with the haredim on our shoulders. I'm responsible for 100 families."
When asked what he would tell his daughter about the exclusion of women, Gibli replied: "Jerusalem is just one region in Israel. As a whole, all over the country women are seen on ads. We are driven by financial considerations, as is any other company."
According to Egged spokesman Ron Ratner: "This is a compromise between Egged's legal counsels and the Canaan company, in light of the decision of the High Court of Justice. The extremists that wreaked havoc on Egged buses with ads featuring women have endangered passengers and drivers alike, while causing damage to property. Egged chooses to focus on the safety of its customers rather than on advertizing. A bus is not a promotional tool."