Like the other monotheistic religions, Judaism views positively the role of advertising in providing the consumer with information. Advertising also plays a multiplier eﬀect and contributes to economic growth through creating jobs – all towards raising living standards. Pava (1998) and Tamari (1997) extrapolate from biblical and Talmudic sources Jewish perspectives on business ethics. As a society espousing ethical values, Jewish Israel ought to provide witness to the impact of ethics in the ﬁeld of advertising. No less important in the question of the impact of ethics on the media is the question of its impact on advertising. Accuracy is just as important to advertising and public relations as it is to journalism because it would lead to consumer dissatisfaction (Bivins, 2004). Friedman (1984) argues that, as far back as the age of the Talmud, Jewish values impacted upon marketing and business ethics. Green (1997) argues that Jewish business ethics have had an impact beyond the religious community. Dorﬀ (1997) contrasts between Conservative Jewish views on business ethics and other Jewish religious streams. Clearly the information has to be accurate and complete. It also has to
avoid techniques which lapse into immorality such as degradation of the image of the women. The problem of deception is acute in advertising, where a customer is persuaded to buy a product which he or she would not otherwise do if they knew all the facts. Kosher advertising raises the question of whether advertising itself can be kosher if it is intended to persuade someone to purchase something he would not otherwise do. Reﬂecting that truth is
regarded as a foundation of the world, the Book of Proverbs (12:19) states, ‘Truthful lips shall be established forever, but a lying tongue is only for a moment.’ So important is truth that lying is a fundamental breach of the monotheistic code and is equated in Judaism to be idol worship. The advertising-religion nexus in Israel has variegated dimensions. The
question of whether Judaism relates positively or not to the advertisement and the act of advertising was discussed in Chapter 2. The most obvious is whether Judaism ought to promote itself through modern advertising – to be discussed in Chapter 10 – and if so how it does so. One question is whether religion symbols should be deployed in the service of marketing, and, if so, to what extent it is done. Another is whether advertising in Israel generates criticism, in particular from religious populations such as the Haredim. Yet another question is how commercial companies are projected towards the growing Haredi audience. The single-minded focus of the Haredi community in terms of advertising and Jewish law has been the issue of modesty in advertising. The term ‘kosher advertising’ refers to advertising in religious sectors. This chapter will discuss how the religious community perceives the usage of sexually related themes in advertising. The chapter will then turn its attention to the challenges facing Israeli companies in marketing in the Haredi sector in light of these strictures. In recent years, Israeli companies have identiﬁed the Haredim in particular as a target market. The Haredi cultural ghetto, which is not exposed to the general media, has raised questions about how companies and advertisers can reach this growing consumer base.