JERUSALEM (Jul. 13)
L’Oreal, the world’s largest cosmetics company, will donate $1 million to support a new campaign in Israel to combat traffic accidents.
The goal of the campaign is to change the behavior of both Israeli drivers and pedestrians, according to L’Oreal executives, who are based in Paris.
Last year, more than 500 Israelis died in road accidents, one-third of them pedestrians.
Since the founding of the state, almost 20,000 Israelis have been killed on the roads — about the same number that have died in wars and terrorist attacks.
In an attempt to end the unprecedented carnage on the country’s roads, the campaign’s organizers have enlisted the aid of dozens of children, who will appear in advertisements greared toward both adults and children.
The ads will focus on behavior patterns of children and youth as pedestrians and future drivers. Children in the ads will call their parents’attention to the importance of safe driving.
At a news conference this week announcing the L’Oreal donation, Knesset member Avraham Burg of Labor, chairman of the Knesset Education Committee, said research show that changing the driving habits of many Israelis requires real behavior modification.
“The support we are getting from L’Oreal and a host of Israeli public figures is going to allow us to get the safe-driving message out in a new and powerful way,” he said.
L’Oreal’s donation comes against the backdrop of the company’s rocky relationship with Israel. Twice in the last three years the French cosmetics giant has been charged with complying with the Arab economic boycott of Israel.
Civil suits against the company have been filed in the United States and France by two French brothers, Jean and David Frydman.
The suits allege that L’Oreal bribed Syrian authorities to get off their blacklist after the company’s chairman, Bernard Dalle entered into a business arrangement with Jean Frydman, who also holds Israeli citizenship.
There have been reports that L’Oreal had iniated discussions with Israeli officials to try to smooth relations. In May, L’Oreal announced it had acquired 30 percent of Interbeauty, Israel’s principal distributor of L’Oreal cosmetics.