Hareidi religious Jews in Tel Aviv decided that the Fox clothing store chain crossed the boundary of modesty with an immodest billboard on a high-speed urban highway and waged a successful campaign to convince the company it pays to be more considerate of the religious public. They also cited the sign as a threat to public safety, and the company took it down.
The fashion chain had posted a huge picture of an attractive model on the high-speed Ayalon Highway that runs through Tel Aviv, Israel’s city “that never stops.” Rabbi Mordechai Baloi, chairman of the Committee for Preserving Sanctity and Education, said that the chain’s billboard was in the public domain, making it difficult for the hareidi religious community and others to travel without seeing it.
While he would have wanted every Jew to keep Torah commandments and practice modesty, he said, "we are not interfering in what happens in malls and on television, which people have the freedom to keep outside of their lives."
He explained that posting the taunting picture on a high-speed public thoroughfare interferes with the freedom of the religious community as well as offending many secular Jews.
“We are not fighting against every advertisement because we understand that Tel Aviv is not Bnei Brak, but in this case, Fox crossed the limits,” Rabbi Baloi stated. “We could not remain quiet.” He explained that there is a large hareidi religious community in Tel Aviv, including 11,000 hareidi students, as well as secular Jews who also object to immodest pictures.
“Fox recognizes the strength of the hareidi religious consumer and even has stocked its stores in Bnei Brak and Jerusalem, where there is a large concentration of religious Jews, with clothes that are suitable for them,” he added.
The rabbi also pointed out to the chain that placing tantalizing pictures of women on a public highway is dangerous. “There is a danger to the safety of motorists why drive on the Ayalon Highway if giant pictures are posted. It is impossible to ignore them.”