Member of Knesset Sharren Haskel cut her hair at a conference in Jerusalem on Tuesday night in a public act of solidarity with the ongoing protest movement that has swept Iran in recent weeks.
Haskel, a member of the center-right National Unity party, told the International Christian Embassy conference “As a (former) fighter in the IDF, I salute the brave women and their children who are fighting for their future and their homes,” Channel 12 quoted Haskel as saying.
“As a sign of solidarity, I am joining the protest that began with Mahsa Amini,” she said, adding the popular protest slogan “Women. Life. Freedom.” in both Farsi and English.
While the crowd applauded, the Canadian-born Haskel took a pair of scissors and cut off two locks of hair before promising the crowd that next year’s conference will feature Iranian female representatives.
Protests have been raging across Iran in recent weeks after 22-year-old Mahsa Amini died while in the custody of the country’s morality police who had arrested her for not wearing her head covering properly. The Iranian regime has denied any responsibility for Amini’s death.
Many women have cut their hair publicly both in Iran and internationally as a sign of protest against the strict religious rules enforced against Iranian women since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
Haskel told a crowd of more than 2,000 people from 70 different countries that when Israel reclaimed the entirety of Jerusalem after the 1967 Six Day War, it committed to maintaining the holy city as a place dedicated to protecting the rights of all.
“Recent days in Iran have reminded us how lucky we are to live in democratic Israel with freedom of religion and freedom of expression, and equality and rights for women,” Haskel said.
Last week, around 100 people gathered in Jerusalem’s Independence Park to rally in solidarity with the Iranian women who have been leading the anti-government protests for weeks.
Holding signs in Hebrew, English and Farsi, the protesters in downtown Jerusalem — including many Israelis of Persian descent — chanted “Women. Life. Freedom.”
The rally was also co-organized by Jerusalem Deputy Mayor Fleur Hassan-Nahoum, who addressed the crowd in Hebrew and English.
“We have never been against the Iranian people, we are on the side of the Iranian nation and against the cruel Iranian regime that kills women for no reason at all, and stops women from having equal rights and stops people from having equal rights,” said Hassan-Nahoum.
Amy Spiro contributed to this report