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Thursday, November 08, 2018 

Miri Regev may have made history, but if she did the UAE's bidding by dressing modestly, that was wrong

Culture minister Miri Regev may have made history by becoming the first Israeli politician to visit Abu Dhabi and its mosque. But based on what she obeyed there, that's exactly why I don't see this as making a blow for women's rights, which I recognize as an important matter. Here's what's been said:
Israel’s culture and sports minister paid a state visit to the largest mosque in the United Arab Emirates on Monday, part of a historic trip that some have seen as signaling a slow rapprochement between Abu Dhabi and Jerusalem.

Miri Regev visited Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque accompanied by officials from the UAE, touring the the Muslim world’s third largest house of worship, after mosques in Mecca and Medina.

World leaders are frequently invited to visit the mosque, thus underlining the official nature of the trip, the first-ever official state visit by an Israeli minister.

Regev is in the country to watch the Israeli judoka team compete at the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam, which they are doing for the first time ever in an Arabian Gulf state under their national flag, after the UAE acceded to pressure from international sports officials.

“This mosque has a message of brotherhood and peace,” Regev wrote in the visitor’s book, in Hebrew. “I wish a good life and peace for all.”

In a Hebrew-language video posted to social media, Regev extolled the “wonderful opportunity” she had to visit the religious site, which she said sends a message of peace and unity.

Regev dressed modestly for the visit, covering her hair with a scarf and removing her shoes upon entering the building.
There's a few more pictures over here. I'm sorry, but this is atrocious, and Israelis shouldn't be subjecting themselves to such kowtowing any more than anyone else. It does have the potential to send the wrong message, and while being allowed to visit such a country for the first time is significant in itself, that doesn't mean we should speak of a perverse culture positively, even for the sake of diplomacy. Otherwise, how do we expect to change things for the better?

So unfortunately, I think Regev owes an apology for being a sellout. I'm not kidding. She did not have to visit that mosque - certainly not in modest dress - and she knows she didn't.

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