In Brief

Israeli women barred from parliament over 'short' skirts

Female workers protest dress code enforced following complaints about 'Sodom and Gomorrah' clothing

Israel's parliament is to rethink its dress code after staff complained they had been denied entry because their skirts were deemed "too short".

Several female employees say they have been delayed on the way to their offices by dress code inspections or even denied entry to the Knesset altogether.

Security guards have been instructed to enforce the parliament's dress code more strictly following complaints from lawmakers about the "disrespectful" attire of some employees in the building.

Several members of the Knesset (MKs) reportedly said the aides were dressed like "Sodom and Gomorrah".

The official regulations forbid "short" skirts and dresses but give no measurements, leaving the decision at the discretion of female security guards, Ha'aretz reports, adding: "No men were denied entrance due to their attire." 

Parliamentary aide Kesem Rozenblat told AFP that dress code inspections were arbitrary. "I've worn this same dress many times," she said. "Maybe they're scared of women's legs, I don't know."

Around 50 female staff members, many in short skirts, protested the action in the entrance hall of the Knesset on Wednesday morning.

MK Merav Michaeli tweeted a picture of some women she claimed had been denied entry, adding: "Iran is here, in the Knesset."

Manuel Trajtenberg, an MK for the centre-left Zionist Union, strip off his shirt in solidarity with a female aide who had been ordered to open her coat so a security guard could check the length of her dress.

"Tomorrow, you'll all have to wear burkas," shouted the politician, as, wearing only a white vest, he took his place alongside the female protesters.

"We need to respect and not humiliate these amazing women who work with all their hearts," he added, reports Jerusalem Post.

Knesset officials "denounced the protest in a statement as an 'organised provocation' and said security staff were just 'doing their work to enforce a dress code that has been in place for years'", Al Jazeera reports.

After what Ha'aretz calls a "stormy meeting", Speaker of the House Yuli Edelstein agreed that the current dress code will be suspended and a revised policy drawn up, specifying once and for all what constitutes an unacceptable hemline.

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