Groundbreaking Decision Against Discriminatory Ad

17 March 2016

In a precedent-setting decision, the Israel Land Authority has fined the construction company Be’Emunah 323,000 shekels for broadcasting a racist commercial. This follows a petition from NIF grantee ACRI after Be’Emunah, while promoting a housing development for national-religious Ashkenazi Jews, mocked Mizrachi Jews with distasteful stereotypes. The ad depicts an Ashkenazi family trying to light Hannukah candles in peace before noisy and disrespectful Mizrachi neighbors intrude, prompting a voiceover to ask, “do you want neighbors who are just like you?”

Here is the ad:

Thanks to a decision ACRI was also involved in from 2010, the discriminatory marketing of residential units is prohibited, but this is the first time that a construction company has been penalized for it. Attorney Gil Gan-Mor, Director of ACRI’s Social and Economic Rights Unit, said: “The advertisement shocked the country and we are pleased that it was quickly removed from the Internet, but many Israelis of Mizrachi origin were deeply offended by the ad. The tender committee’s decision sends a clear message: Discriminatory advertisements are forbidden, even if no discrimination takes place in practice.”

The Attorney General’s Office is now investigating whether marketing apartments solely to the national-religious public constitutes unlawful discrimination. Whatever its decision, Gan-Mor said, “The Association for Civil Rights in Israel will continue to combat unlawful discrimination and discriminatory marketing of homes, and will fight for the right of all Israelis – Jews or Arabs, secular, religious, ultra-Orthodox – to freely choose their place of residence.”

Photo via Wikimedia Commons