Israeli Credit Card Firm Leaves Women Out of Jerusalem Billboards

Activists working to bring images of women back onto ads in the capital, start a protest on Isracard's Facebook page.

The credit card company Isracard has launched a different advertising campaign in Jerusalem than elsewhere in the country, by leaving renowned actress Gila Almagor out of their billboards in the capital, activists against the segregation of women say.

Isracard is featuring a series of celebrities in its new ad campaign, but is showing only men in its ads in Jerusalem.

Billboards - Shiran Granot
Shiran Granot

Activists who are working to bring images of women back onto billboards in Jerusalem, started a protest on Isracard's Facebook page. "Don't you have women clients in Jerusalem?" one protester wrote. "Do women in Jerusalem have to cancel their Isracard?" another visitor to the Facebook page asked. Other people wrote to say they were going to cancel their Isracard credit cards over the affair.

The company responded on their Facebook page: "Isracard is conducting a national ad campaign that features both men and women, with no instructions to the ad agency to limit advertising to certain cities. The campaign is being conducted on television, on billboards and in the digital media. We will be happy to hear the opinions of our clients in Jerusalem next week as well."

However, activists then responded by asking the company to report where in Jerusalem there was an Isracard ad featuring a woman.

Complaints against Isracard come after activists report a recent improvement in the number of ads featuring women in Jerusalem. "After two and a half months, we have brought about a change in Jerusalem regarding women pictured in advertising, and you see more women. But it's not surprising that not everyone has gotten the message and continues to relate to Jerusalem as a Haredi [ultra-Orthodox] advertising zone," Rabbi Uri Ayalon, a leader of the group Yerushalmim and who is fighting the segregation of women, said. "It's unfortunate that a company like Isracard, which continues to exclude women, is thinking in the old way that this is a city where you can't advertise women. We hope that like Adi, which published a corrected ad, we will see Gila Almagor on advertising space in Jerusalem."

Ayalon was refering to a campaign by the organ-donor association Adi, which initially used ads showing only men to call upon people to obtain an organ-donor card.

"Ayalon said the exclusion of women in advertising is "unacceptable and invalid," and that activists would "not stop and are not going anywhere."

Earlier this week Jerusalem activists petitioned the High Court of Justice against the Transportation Ministry, the Egged bus company, and Cnaan, the franchisee for advertising on buses in the capital. The petitioners demanded the return of female figures in advertising on buses in addition to other locations. The High Court instructed the state and the advertising companies to respond to the petition in 21 days.

Isracard responded that the sign company was to blame for the situation. "Advertising in Jerusalem is the responsibility of the company Rapid, to which queries should be addressed," Isracard said.

Read this article in Hebrew