Egged, Dan to remove anti-"settler" billboards from buses

Egged & Dan both claimed adverts were posted without their knowledge or consent. Billboards were removed within hours.

Yehonatan Gottlieb ,

Advertisement on a Dan bus
Advertisement on a Dan bus
From the Facebook page of "Hatzel"

The Egged and Dan transportation companies have both announced that they will be removing advertisements that were posted on the sides of their buses, calling for “an end to settler violence.”

In recent days, extreme left-wing organizations including “Breaking the Silence” and “Peace Now” launched an advertising campaign, posting billboards on the sides of buses in Jerusalem and other cities, using slogans such as, “A three-year-old Palestinian child was wounded in an attack. The time has come to stop settler violence.”

Similar campaigns have been waged in the past, including one which featured a billboard on the outside wall of the Tax Authority in Jerusalem which ignited a storm of criticism against the offensive which effectively condemned an entire sector for the (contested) actions of a tiny minority.

In response to a request for clarification from Arutz Sheva regarding the current advertising blitz, Egged responded that the campaign had been launched without its knowledge and that the billboards would be removed immediately.

“The decision to place these advertisements on a very small number of buses in Jerusalem was made by our advertising agent and was made in error and without our knowledge or agreement,” Egged said in a statement, “and therefore, the advertisements will be removed promptly, within the next few hours.”

Egged added that, “We are grateful for your having drawn our attention to this outrageous harassment. Buses used for public transportation are not to be utilized for political purposes that deepen the polarization in Israeli society, and therefore we have no intention of enabling this use of our buses.”

The Dan company also responded to Arutz Sheva’s request, albeit somewhat later in the day, noting that it planned to summon its advertising manager for clarification. “The Dan company regards this issue with the utmost gravity, and immediately this morning, after we were made aware of the campaign posting billboards on the sides of our buses, the head of the Dan company ordered the advertisements removed from all the buses concerned. This is an opportunity to stress that the advertisements on Dan buses were placed by an outside company that has no ties to the Dan company whatsoever, and we will be summoning representatives of the advertising company to explain its actions.”

Prior to the response of the Dan company on the issue, the head of the Otzma Yehudit party, MK Itamar Ben Gvir, also approached the bus company asking for the advertisements to be removed. “I ask that you take similar action to the Egged company and remove these offensive billboards immediately,” he wrote.

The popular Israeli rapper “Hatzel” (The Shadow) also weighed in on the controversy, posting on his Facebook page: “Has the Dan company really descended to such depths? Have you sold your souls to launch a libelous campaign of incitement funded by European anti-Semites? This is the way to spit in the faces of IDF soldiers. You should be ashamed of yourselves.”

Following the statements of both Egged and Dan informing that the billboards would be removed, Shai Glick, CEO of the Betsalmo human rights NGO, said: “I congratulate Egged and Dan for ordering the immediate removal of these billboards containing incitement against hundreds of thousands of Jewish settlers. Naturally, no one would ever have considered launching such an advertising campaign calling for an end to Arab violence. These were racist advertisements that offended a broad swathe of society. I am delighted that the companies did not bow to the pressure of these extreme left-wing organizations that are funded by foreign entities whose raison d’etre is to fan the flames of hatred against the residents of Judea and Samaria. Now that these companies, along with the Tax Authority, have removed the billboards, I am confident that no other company will publish anything so offensive again.”