U.S. tourists to Israel advised to dress modestly

JERUSALEM — The U.S. State Department is advising visitors to Jerusalem to dress modestly when visiting certain neighborhoods, or to … Continued

JERUSALEM — The U.S. State Department is advising visitors to Jerusalem to dress modestly when visiting certain neighborhoods, or to avoid the areas entirely, in hopes of not provoking local sensitivities.

The State Department guidance did not specify which neighborhoods are considered problematic, or what, exactly, constitutes “modest” attire.

The Jerusalem advisory, updated on Jan. 10, says travelers “should exercise caution at religious sites on holy days, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays” and “dress appropriately” when visiting ultra-Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods and the Old City of Jerusalem, where religious Jews, Muslims and Christians live in distinct quarters.

The warning notes that most roads into ultra-Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods are blocked off on Friday nights, Saturdays, and Jewish holidays, and that “assaults on secular visitors, either for being in cars or for being ‘immodestly dressed’ have occurred in these neighborhoods.”

The advisory was added to the State Department’s website for travel to Israel, the West Bank and Gaza. It comes in the wake of many recent incidents in which ultra-Orthodox Jewish extremists physically or verbally attacked women they said were dressed immodestly.

Ultra-Orthodox Jewish women cover up everything except their faces, necks and hands.

In Beit Shemesh, a city between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, extremists have attacked religious schoolgirls on their way to school, deeming them not religious enough.

For years, ultra-Orthodox Jews have also stoned cars driving in or near their neighborhoods on the Sabbath or holidays.

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  • mjrmike39157

    ” The Ultras ” are stretching their muscles … !

  • bluewhinge

    Absolute nonsense. The most ultra-orthodox neighborhoods–Me’a Shaarim and Geulah– are located outside of the Old City. “Modest attire” means covering the neck from the clavicle down, the arms to below the elbows, and the legs to below the knees; bare legs are also not considered modest. It also means not wearing form-fitting or tight attire that while technically covering leaves little to the imagination. Light, loose, clothing that protects from the burning sun in the summer and a long coat in the winter pretty much will do it, without having to look frumpy. The real question is, if you have no particular business in an area known to be very religious, why go there to begin with?

  • Sajanas

    Trying to justify the need for ‘modest’ clothing in terms of it being useful for weather is such a cop out. You can be protected from the sun just as well with some sun block. The point is not that it is terribly hard to put on more clothes, it is that a specific group of people are taking it upon themselves to spit and curse women who don’t meet their nebulously defined standards, and more than that, to force segragation on them. And even though it is offensive to me that they force this on their own women (who, more often than not, actually support the Ultra-Orthodox men because they actually have jobs) but that they feel it is their right to force people who may not even be Jewish at all to obey their rules. Tourists wander all over the place… its ridiculous to imagine they’ll magically know where all the Ultra areas are.