Religion Magazine

Local Ad Book in Bet Shemesh Under Threat for Printing Womens Images

By Gldmeier @gldmeier
Walla News is reporting on an advertising booklet in Bet Shemesh that is seemingly making waves.
I have not counted in a while, but we get upwards of around a dozen or so ad books in our mailbox every week. Most of them go straight into the trash. A select few of them get brought into the house. One of them is the ad book that is the subject of the report on Walla News. Metzia is new, it is unique, it is colorful, and it is normal (and I advertise in it).
The story goes that Metzia is different than most of the other locals magazines in the sense that it includes women in its advertising. Meaning, if an advertiser wants to include an image of a woman, a woman that is modestly dressed, Metzia does not discriminate and will include the image. Most (not all) of the other magazines do discriminate and do not allow images of women, no matter if they are modestly dressed in the image or not..
Metzia has come under threat. One rav from RBS C (a.k.a. Gimmel) sent a letter to Metzia saying it is not appropriate, nor is it acceptable, and they should at least not distribute in their neighborhood, if not stop altogether (or take out women completely). Another influential rav is referenced who also called and had his people call saying to take out women. Theyy stated explicitly they would tell advertisers to pull their ads if Metzia would not comply, and some have begun to do so.
The owner of Metzia agreed to not distribute to any household that would opt out and send the address and state explicitly they do not want to receive the magazine, but he did not agree to cancel distribution to an entire neighborhood on the say so of one person or a few people who claim to be speaking for everybody.
People can decide to do business wherever they want. I can advertise in one book and not in another for whatever reason I want - budget, style, target audience, I like one and not the other.. Strong-arming and bully tactics are wrong, but at the end of the day, it is the choice of the advertiser to say he will or will not advertise in any given booklet. If they do not want to look for the business of the readers of Metzia, they do not need to.
local ad book in Bet Shemesh under threat for printing womens images
However, besides for a few advertisers pulling advertisements, a woman who was in RBS C distributing the booklet came under attack. She had to be extricated from the mob by her husband who was in the area, and has filed a police report.. I am not quite sure what happened, but it seems she was spotted distributing the booklet and was told to either remove every single one from every mailbox she had put them in already or she would not be allowed to leave.
The owners of Metzia are standing their ground. They say there is nothing in halacha against the appearance of women in books and magazines, and they will not capitulate on these made up rules by extremists. Basically, anyone who does not like Metzia can take his ad booklet and toss it straight into the garbage, just like many people do with every other ad book they do not like but continue to receive.
Personally I appreciate the return to normalcy, or semi-normalcy, and I hope it shows others that it can work and the extremists do not need to be listened to. They can be extreme for themselves, but people do not appreciate when the extremists set the tone for the neighborhood.
If you are on a Facebook user, and if any of this speaks to you, feel free to show your support for Metzia by liking the Metzia Facebook page..
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