Ad Nauseam: Education Min. Slams Costly Ad Campaign

Education Ministry officials are protesting the costs of an ad campaign, funded by the government and the Israel Teachers Union, that aims to explain to teachers the details of a labor agreement reached two weeks ago.

The campaign - which is run by the advertising agency Gitam-BBDO Israel and includes billboard and bus ads announcing a "new horizon" for Israeli education - has cost about $250,000 so far, according to Ifat Advertising Monitoring, which provides data on advertising in Israel. It's not clear how long the campaign will continue.

"If the agreement will really bring true reforms to the educational system, then why is it so urgent for the government and the teachers union to invest large sums in newspaper and billboard ads?" asked a senior Education Ministry official. "This is a problematic investment from a public perspective. We haven't yet reached a budgetary abundance that might justify such investment."

"The Education Ministry has enough ways to reach teachers in the schools and tell them about the changes that the new agreement will bring," said another ministry official.

Teachers union officials said the association was paying for half the campaign and the government was paying for the other half. However, it remains unclear which ministry is footing the bill.

The Education Ministry said it is not funding any part of the campaign. The Prime Minister's Office said "the state" was launching the campaign with the teachers union, but would not say whether it was financing the ads.