Israel

Israeli Media Dresses Down Sara Netanyahu

Apparently the First Lady of Israel attended a political ceremony last week wearing a black lacy dress with a few sheer sections that partially exposed her shoulders and midriff. The obvious thing to do, then, if you are a member of the Israeli media, is to body- and slut-shame her for it.

In Hebrew-language daily Yediot Ahronot, Shelly Gross declared, “It’s unanimous: the stomach-revealing dress was a mistake,” and took the opportunity to remind readers that they should opt for an outfit that’s tight or transparent—but not both.

A Ynet gossip column likewise called the outfit “a mistake,” explaining that such a dress generally “doesn’t go well with a stomach that’s not flat” and adding that “it’s hard to see the beauty of the dress with what’s stuck there in the middle.”

The Jewish Daily Forward, despite also engaging in some fashion snobbery, has a different take on the incident:

First, we could read [Sara’s] choice as a bold, political move in a country where women’s faces in advertising are considered scandalous because certain religious Jews just can’t handle the sight of women’s flesh, even if it is just their heads. Second, this dress, with all of the awful judgement behind it, shows that Sara Netanyahu is not being bossed around by some strategists and managers. Nope, this is a woman who clearly makes her own choices, and stands by them, or, well, in them, for better or for worse.

If so, good for her.

Ethiopian Women Pressured to Use Contraception as Condition of Immigration to Israel

Journalist Gal Gabbay last month published an expose claiming that Jewish Ethiopian women wishing to enter Israel from transit camps in Ethiopia were being manipulated into taking Depo-Provera, resulting in a declining birth rate for Ethiopians in Israel.

Depo-Provera, the brand name of a long-acting contraceptive injection, is a highly effective method of birth control but possible side effects include a decrease in bone density that puts women at increased risk for osteoporosis and fractures later on. That and other side effects are not immediately reversible, and returning to fertility can be a lengthy process. In addition, withdrawal symptoms can be acute.

Relatively few healthy women in Israel choose the injection without specific medical reasons.

One of the commenters on this Jezebel article shrewdly quoted the following text from the United Nations’ “Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide” (adopted on December 9, 1948):

In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:

  • (a) Killing members of the group;

  • (b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;

  • (c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;

  • (d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;

  • (e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

Emphasis mine.

In Defense of the Skinny-Dipping Congressman

Conor Friedersdorf writes a light-hearted response to this Politico story about the FBI’s investigation of a few Republican officials and their staff who “disrobed” or “partially disrobed” to swim in the sea of Galilee during a privately-funded trip last summer. I won’t ruin it.