Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

4 Shevat 5769 - January 29, 2009 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network











Government Ministry Ads Not Targeting Chareidi Audiences

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 chareidi press.

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 Vashem.

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.


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