Knesset aide blocked from entering building over dress deemed too short

Marcy Oster

JERUSALEM (JTA) — A Knesset aide was detained from entering the government building in Jerusalem after her dress was deemed too short under the parliamentary dress code.

Shaked Hasson, an adviser to Zionist Union lawmaker Merav Michaeli, was wearing a mid-thigh length dress and leggings.

She told Haaretz that five male Knesset guards examined her outfit before determining that it was inappropriate.

“As I was entering the Knesset, a guard stopped me and said they have a dress code they adhere to very strictly these days, and that I was in violation of the rules,” Hasson told Haaretz. “I insisted that I was properly dressed. He called another guy and in all five different workers came to check out how I was dressed. I felt humiliated. It was very unpleasant.”

Michaeli said in a Facebook post that she does “not approve of the modesty squads guarding the entrance to the Knesset.” Her aide was allowed to enter the building after the lawmaker intervened.

“The Knesset dress code cannot be used as a means to oppress women, and I hope that we won’t have to engage in a struggle over this issue,” Michaeli said.

Knesset guards reportedly have been tasked with enforcing the building dress code after the Knesset director-general Albert Saharovitch issued a paper refreshing it about a month ago. The Knesset spokesman said the dress code was not made any stricter, but that guards have been instructed to enforce it so as to “prevent offense to any visitors and guests.”

According to the Knesset website, “entrance to the Knesset is permitted only in appropriate attire (no tank/spaghetti tops, cropped tops, shorts or ¾ length trousers, ripped trousers, shirts with political slogans, short skirts and shorts dresses, flip-flops or open-back clogs).”

The rules apply to those over the age of 14.