Israel seeks to ‘cover up,’ while France says ‘take it off’

A Palestinian woman (L) holds a baby as she visits a beach in Tel Aviv during Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan August 20, 2012. (File photo: Reuters)

While France’s controversial call for a burkini ban started an international debate on what is deemed appropriate for women to wear at the beach, Israel joins in on the drama by highlighting new concerns on whether some cover up too little.

An Israeli singer was forced off stage at a music festival on a beach in Tel Aviv earlier this week because she was wearing a bikini top – considered immodest. In response, Israel’s Ministry of Culture and Sport said on Sunday that it would insist on modest dress by performers at government-sponsored musical events, local newspaper Haaretz reported.

The allied countries seem to be on the opposite side of the debate. While some look to ban the head-to-ankle swimwear in France, Israel seems to be heading in the other direction by setting firm guidelines to production companies working with it on various shows for how modestly it deems performers should dress.

Despite this sudden concern regarding modesty, a flash of skin on Tel Aviv’s beaches - a ‘liberal’ city on the Mediterranean - is hardly unusual. For many years, beaches in Israel’s capital have seen a variety of differently dressed women, from bikinis to entirely covered pious women.

Yet unfortunately for the singer who was asked to leave her performance, the Israeli government has taken the topic of modesty seriously. In an interview with the New York Times on Sunday, Hanna Goor said she was only trying to stay cool in the late summer heat, and was dressed no different from many watching from the beach.

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:49 - GMT 06:49