Knesset decides not to alter parliamentary dress code, just enforcement

Marcy Oster

JERUSALEM (JTA) — The Knesset will not alter the Knesset dress code barring “short skirts and short dresses.”

A Knesset spokesman issued a statement on Tuesday saying the current rules will remain in place but a new mode of enforcement will be put into place, including issuing warnings before denying a Knesset employee entry to the parliamentary building, the Times of Israel reported.

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 short dresses, flip-flops or open-back clogs).” The rules apply to those over the age of 14.

In December, more than 30 parliamentary aides wore mini skirts and dresses to the building to protest the code, after several aides had been sent home on prior days for wearing skirts and dresses that were deemed bu Knesset guards to be too short.  At the time, the Knesset spokesman said the dress code was not made any stricter, but that guards had been instructed to enforce it so as to “prevent offense to any visitors and guests.”

During the protest lawmaker Manuel Trajtenberg of the Zionist Union party removed his jacket and shirt and tried to enter the Knesset in his undershirt in support of the women. “You’ll all have to wear burkas!” he reportedly said to the women.

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Following the protest, Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein set up a committee of elected Knesset members and parliamentary workers to make recommendations on how to handle the dress code. The committee decided to leave the regulations in place but change the manner of enforcement.

Under the new enforcement rules, Knesset guards may only decide on and enforce violations committed by their own gender, according to the Times of Israel. In addition, staff will be given at least two warnings about violations before they are prevented from entering the building.