Government Ministry Ads Not Targeting Chareidi
By R. Gil
During a year in which government ministries posted a 73-
percent increase in newspaper advertising, the neglect of the
chareidi sector was especially noteworthy. A survey conducted
by Ifat Advertising Monitoring and commissioned by Yated
Ne'eman showed the extent of the scandal: 230,000 column
inches were aimed at the general public, compared to 17,250
for the chareidi public. Entire advertising campaigns, and
especially job listings, were nowhere to be found in the
A large portion of government ministries totally exclude the
chareidi sector. They omit chareidi newspapers, not including
them in their general campaigns. Most of all they have no
interest in hiring chareidim as rank-and-file civil servants.
Fact: State job listings, which are advertised extensively in
the general press, do not get advertised in the chareidi
sector at all.
According to Ifat, the Water Authority placed 21 ads, the
Ministry of Construction and Housing placed 127 ads
(including an unusually large campaign for Amidar and Amigur
residents for a grant of up to 92 percent of the value of
their apartment), the Home Front Command placed 31 ads and
Israel Police placed 47 ads — yet none appeared in the
chareidi press. Other government bodies that totally excluded
the chareidi public included the Finance Ministry, the Trans-
Israel Highway, the Israel Lands Administration, the Courts
Administration, the Government Companies Authority and Yad
Natan Meir, director of the Bureau of Government Advertising,
does not deny all responsibility, but places much of the
blame in our court. "In principle these claims are correct.
Only five percent of the ads in the general public are found
in the chareidi sector as well," he acknowledges. "I think
the religious sector is the reason for this. Its own
criticism opposes posting some of the campaigns. It's hard to
place ads in the newspapers, except for straight text ads,
because some of them involve references to Internet. There's
also discrimination at the ministries, which stems from
budget constraints. Today there's a decrease in channeling
funds to the press, but still the proportion directed toward
the chareidim is much smaller because there's a distinct
preference for the general press, which is considered more
effective. Also, there aren't enough chareidi media sources.
Distributing ads among several newspapers also presents a
deterring factor. Ministries rely on the assumption that a
portion of the public will still get exposed to the
information. And I'm constantly trying to persuade them,
including through a chareidi adviser I hire for this purpose,
that this is not the case, and in fact in the chareidi
sector, where every newspaper has at least a few readers from
the building and the neighborhood, advertising is more
effective and worthwhile. But the final decision is in the
hands of the ministries, and we can only make
recommendations. Soon the Finance Ministry will be launching
its pensions campaign, for instance. We recommended they
include the chareidim in the program as well, but I just hope
they put enough money into the chareidi campaign, too."
Natan encourages us to take the discrimination personally.
"There's a general problem in directing funds to specific
population groups. The Russians, with their profusion of
media, are discriminated against, and the Ethiopians and
Arabs are also deprived. The growing chareidi sector cannot
be ignored, and neither can the need to advertise in it."
But at the same time Natan says the worsening economic
situation makes the timing less than ideal for introducing
change. For all these reasons the imbalance in advertising is
likely to continue in 2009.