Watch your step
US State Department warns tourists against “immodest dress”
Updated travel guidelines from the US State Department reflect growing concern about violence against women for their dress.
Hillary Clinton at 2011 Saban Forum in Washington, D.C.
In an updated version of their security guidelines, the US State Department advises tourists to be wary in ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods of Jerusalem saying that “Assaults on secular visitors, either for being in cars [on Shabbat] or for being "immodestly dressed," have occurred in these neighborhoods.”
These updated warnings reflect the growing gender segregation and violent attacks on women throughout Israel for either violating extreme modesty dress codes in public spaces or for refusing to sit in the back of segregated buses. Coercive bus segregation, which is illegal, has nevertheless resulted in sanctioning and support from police and public transportation companies.
Assaults on secular visitors, either for being in cars [on Shabbat] or for being "immodestly dressed," have occurred in these neighborhoods.
Earlier this year, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton caused a storm with her remarks about Israel in a closed session at the Saban Forum in Washington, D.C.. Untypically, Secretary Clinton not only addressed international involvement with Israel, but also chose to express her deep and growing concern over the marginalization of women in the public sphere, a direct result of the growing religious extremism in the country. Clinton even remarked that this discrimination reminded her of what is happening in Iran and drew an analogy to the discrimination faced by Rosa Parks.
Unfortunately, the State Department's warnings discuss only Jerusalem, and do not reflect the violence that has been waged against women in other areas of the country, including Beit Shemesh.
See YNet’s coverage of the State Department’s warning here