The Dealers - Shiran Granot - 22.7.2012
Billboard advertising the film "The Dealers" in Jerusalem, July 22, 2012. Photo by Shiran Granot
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Two actresses have been axed from advertisements for the Israeli movie "The Dealers," displayed on billboards in Jerusalem - just months after hundreds of people participated in rallies in the capital to protest the exclusion of women from the public domain.

Other ads for the film - a comedy about friends from Jerusalem looking for a way to make money - feature four men and two women.

As a result of the exclusion, some protesters have threatened to boycott the movie, which opened Thursday. "The movie is boycotted until you fix the advertising in Jerusalem," wrote Rivi Federman in one of dozens of critical comments posted on the Facebook page of film distributor United King Films.

"If you continue to exclude women, we will exclude ourselves from your movies!" wrote Yarin Szachter in another comment.

United King said the company that operates the billboards had asked for the actresses - Yuval Scharf and Michal Gavrielov - to be removed from the ad. The company, Zohar Hutzot, denied the accusation, saying, "We advertise whatever the advertisers want us to."

United King said in a statement: "Unfortunately, the censorship of women's images from billboards is the result of a decision we consider unacceptable, and is not in our interest. In the past two years we have unsuccessfully struggled against this unacceptable directive."

But some of the Facebook commenters seemed uninterested in excuses, calling on the distribution company to fight the exclusion of women.

The issue of discrimination against women - ranging from issues like the absence of images of females on billboards, posters and bus advertisements in Jerusalem, to sex segregation on buses and in the streets, and the ultra-Orthodox harassment of schoolgirls in Beit Shemesh - was the subject of demonstrations and extensive media coverage over the winter. At the time, some companies said they feared their property would be defaced if they allowed ads featuring women.

The Jerusalem municipality said there is no municipal regulation prohibiting women from appearing on billboards.