MK strips in solidarity with miniskirt-clad Knesset aides
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MK strips in solidarity with miniskirt-clad Knesset aides

Joining protest of female employees against dress code, Manuel Trajtenberg tries to enter the parliament in his undershirt

Raoul Wootliff is the The Times of Israel's political correspondent.

Knesset staffers protest against the dress code in the Knesset, the Israeli Parliament in Jerusalem, December 14, 2016. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Knesset staffers protest against the dress code in the Knesset, the Israeli Parliament in Jerusalem, December 14, 2016. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The usually orderly security entrance of the Knesset was the scene of a commotion Wednesday, as over 30 parliamentary aides tried to enter the building wearing miniskirts and short dresses in protest of a recently revised dress code that led to several female employees being turned away for failing to meet the rules.

The dozens of aides who were stuck outside after they were refused entry by the Knesset Guard were soon joined by several Knesset members attempting to gain entry for them. Meanwhile, parliament officials were dispatched to minimize the disruption, as legions of journalists looked on.

Female guards were in charge of administering the rules — which prohibit, among other items of clothing, miniskirts and short dresses — and told the aides that their skirts must end no more than five centimeters above the knee.

While most of the aides were eventually allowed in, some having brought a change of clothing in advance, four were denied entry altogether and turned away from the parliament.

In one dramatic show of solidarity, Zionist Union MK Manuel Trajtenberg removed his jacket and shirt and tried to enter wearing just an undershirt and trousers. “Tomorrow you will all be wearing burqas,” he shouted ironically to the protesters.

The protest was organized by the unofficial union of parliamentary aides in response to the revised rules, which the Knesset issued last month, applying to all employees including custodians, parliamentary assistants, permanent employees, students and interns.

“Entrance to the Knesset is permitted only in appropriate attire (no tank/spaghetti tops, cropped tops, shorts or three-quarter length trousers, ripped trousers, shirts with political slogans, short skirts and short dresses, flip-flops or open-back clogs). These rules apply to adults and youth aged 14 and over, ” a notice on the Knesset website reads.

The Knesset spokesman, who has said that the new rules were simply a clarification of long-standing procedure, said that the protest was “nothing more that an orchestrated provocation that disrespected everyone.”

Knesset staffers protest against the dress code in the Knesset, the Israeli Parliament in Jerusalem, December 14, 2016. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Knesset staffers protest against the dress code in the Knesset, the Israeli Parliament in Jerusalem, December 14, 2016. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

“The women and men of the Knesset [Guard] do their work faithfully according to what has been the accepted dress code of the Knesset for years and ensure respectful behavior at the entrance of the Knesset while protecting the Knesset’s dignity,” he said in a statement.

The protest erupted on Monday, after Shaked Hasson, an aide to Zionist Union MK Merav Michaeli, said that she was checked by security forces and held for breaching the new guidelines. A day later it emerged that a second aide, Moria Silfen, who works for MK Eli Alaluf (Kulanu), had also been detained at the entrance to the Knesset and told by guards that she could not enter on account of her outfit.

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