Middle East

Israeli parliament lifts dress code after protest over short skirt ban

Protest by Knesset staffers over ban on short skirts Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Dozens of protesters gathered in front of the Knesset building on Wednesday

The Israeli parliament has suspended its dress code rules, reports say, after staffers protested against a ban on skirts deemed too short.

Workers said security at the Knesset had strictly enforced rules on the length of skirts recently, banning colleagues from entering the building.

Speaker Yuli Edelstein said the measure came after mounting complaints over alleged inappropriate clothing.

A joint team will look at the rules and decide how they should be implemented.

The suspension followed a tense meeting at the parliament, Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported.

The group looking into the rules will be made up of male and female lawmakers and aides.

In October, the parliament's administrative director sent around a letter reminding everyone of the dress code.

It prohibits T-shirts, shorts, sandals and short dresses or skirts, but does not specify a length, leaving the issue open to interpretation.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The dress code does not specify a length for skirts, leaving the issue open to interpretation

For Wednesday's protest, women wore above-the-knee skirts and dresses in defiance of the ban.

Some said male guards had embarrassed them by ordering them to unbutton their coats so they could see the length of their skirts.

MP Manuel Trajtenberg took off his shirt and complained that soon women would "have to wear burkas".

Speaker Edelstein defended the need for decorum in the legislature. He said the rules had been in place for many years, but had only been enforced in recent days following complaints.

On national radio he said that the Knesset had not gone, in his words, "Iran-Taliban".

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