Israeli parliament stops female workers from entering over their ’short skirts’

Israeli parliament stops female workers from entering over their ’short skirts’

Several Israeli politicians and their assistants have protested outside the parliament building after female staff were denied entry for wearing skirts that were deemed too short.

Asaf Goldfarb of the Israeli legislative assistants’ union says at least 15 female staff members could not go into the Knesset on Wednesday because of their dress.

The protesters denounced similar entry refusals in recent weeks.

Mr Goldfarb says a Knesset representative told protesters that dresses must be no more than two inches above the knee.

Knesset spokesman Yotam Yakir said the parliament dress code forbids sandals, shorts, and "too short skirts".

Mr Yakir called the protest a "provocation". He said only one legislative assistant was denied entry on Wednesday over her dress, and the Knesset enforces the dress code equally with men and women.

"The concentration on what women are wearing is completely ridiculous," said Liron Shalish, a legislative assistant, who was stopped at the entrance to the Knesset wearing a dress she said reached just above her knees - the same dress she wore to parliament a few months ago for her job interview.

The Knesset administrative director met with representatives of the legislative assistants’ union on Tuesday to discuss the dress code, but Mr Yakir would not say if the Knesset was considering altering it.

Politician Manuel Trajtenberg from a centre-left party protested by taking off his shirt, remaining in a sleeveless undershirt, as other protesters cheered.

"This is not the parliament in Iran," said fellow politician Ilan Gilon, from a dovish party.

"Instead of measuring skirts, they should measure work ethics," said Aida Touma-Suleiman of an Arab party.

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