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Israeli salt: now without any suggestion that women exist


Laura Bridgestock
WVoN co-editor

In the latest bizarre instance of the systematic removal of images of women from all areas of advertising in the Jerusalem area, a food company has removed a graphic logo representing a female figure from its table salt packaging.

The change to the Salit table salt packet, which was noticed by Brit Harel, is just the latest absurdity in the ongoing erasure of women from all public imagery in Jerusalem – motivated, it seems, largely by fears of vandalism from ultra-Orthodox groups.

In July, hundreds of people gathered to protest in the Israeli capital, after two actresses, Yuval Scharf and Michal Gavrielov, were erased from billboard posters advertising film The Dealers.

The film distribution company said that the business in charge of the billboards had asked for the change to be made – but the latter denied this.

While the city municipality said there were no official restrictions against images of women appearing on billboards, some companies said they believed their property may be vandalised if they allowed images of women to appear there.

This sentiment was recently repeated by the Egged bus company and Canaan Media, who announced that they would no longer feature any images of people – female or male – on buses in the Jerusalem area, due to fears of vandalism.

The announcement came at the end of a lengthy debate over whether buses would feature images proposed by the Yerushalmim movement, which aims to promote pluralism, and which had planned a campaign that would include images of women and the slogan: “Because J’lem is for us all.”

Yerushalmim said images of women had not appeared on advertising on Egged buses for at least eight years.

The transport ministry expressed support for the campaign, and Canaan Media initially agreed, but following some quibbling about the length of the sleeves of the pictured women, now says its advertising on buses in the Jerusalem area will not feature any human images at all.

In a more amateur approach to blanking out women, one orthopaedic products shop in Jerusalem was found to be covering up pictures of women featured on products such as elastic bandages, by placing stickers onto the packaging.

The owner of the shop said this had been done following requests from customers who practise the very conservative Haredi form of Judaism.

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