'Where are you wearing?' Israeli Minister's 'Jerusalem Dress' Stirs Controversy

Published May 18th, 2017 - 12:43 GMT
A modified version of Miri Regev's dress made the rounds online (Facebook)
A modified version of Miri Regev's dress made the rounds online (Facebook)

by Rosie Alfatlawi

Jerusalem: the world’s most disputed city. Holy for three of the world’s major religions, occupied since 1967 and deeply divided, al-Quds (as it is known in Arabic) is no stranger to controversy.

So when the Israeli Culture Minister Miri Regev decided to wear a dress depicting the ancient city it was always going to attract attention. It would have been impossible to predict, however, that the politico-fashion statement would set social media alight with such vigor.

The choice of attire was apparently her way of celebrating 50 years since the occupation of East Jerusalem during the Six-Day war.

The dress sparked a meme-creating frenzy in Israel and beyond, with some Israelis taking the right-wing politician’s problematic clothing decision as an opportunity to highlight the injustices of the ongoing Israeli occupation.

Occupation-chic. Here is Miri Regev: I have corrected you with other parts of Jerusalem.

The Israeli NGO Peace Now, which advocates for the two-state solution, used the dress as a billboard to promote an upcoming rally.

Others used the dress as a canvas for referencing continued clashes in the volatile city.

via GIPHY

Many Israelis, however, have made light of the dress with their memes, for instance replacing Jerusalem with an image of a local restaurant, or showing an alien invasion of the city.

While it might be a laughing matter for some, for Palestinians, many of whom cannot visit or live in Jerusalem, the decision to wear the dress felt like a slap in the face, and they took to social media in protest.

The dress of the Israeli Minister of Culture was one of the most controversial [at the festival] as it depicts Jerusalem at the bottom. (The thief boasts of what he stole)

Only now will the honorable scholars and elders call for the "liberation" of Al Aqsa, after the Israeli Minister of Culture wore the Al Aqsa dress at the Cannes Festival.

The Minister, who is a member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party, is no stranger to controversy. In 2012, she described African immigrants to Israel as a “cancer in the nation’s body.”


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