Photo: Uriel Herschko
Councilman Saar Netanel
Photo: Uriel Herschko
Jerusalem Mayor Uri Lupolianski
Photo: Haim Zach
Photo: AP
Ceremony for Chords Bridge
Photo: AP

Council meeting erupts in yells: Jerusalem is not Iran

Jerusalem councilman Saar Netanel cuts into mayor's speech, accuses him of dressing bridge inauguration dancers like in Islamic republic. Audience members forced out for singing 'Jerusalem is not Iran, Jerusalem is Tehran'

An embarrassing incident occurred during a Jerusalem City Council meeting on Thursday after council member Saar Netanel interrupted a speech by Mayor Uri Lupolianski, attacking his decision to "cover up" the dancers performing at the inauguration ceremony of Jerusalem's new Chord Bridge.


"You always open with achievements and positive things that happened this month," Netanel called out, "so how is it that you didn't open with the 'marvelous thing' that happened to us yesterday when the girls of a dance ensemble were dressed in clothes like in Tehran. How is it that you don't open with the fact that women in Jerusalem are being dressed as in Iran?"


Some of the young people present encouraged Netanel by singing, "Jerusalem is not Iran, Jerusalem is Tehran." Despite many requests, the singers refused to quiet down and were therefore forcefully removed from the hall by security. As they were being led out, two of the women wrapped black headscarves around their heads. Lupolianski said in response, "Good thing we got rid of that talk," thereby restoring order.


On Wednesday Lupolianski surrendered to the ultra-Orthodox community's demands to cancel the show by Mehola dance ensemble planned for the inauguration ceremony.  

Dancers in costume at bridge innauguration


Following counter-objections made by the opposition of the city council a creative compromise was reached, according to which the dancers would wear long clothes covering their bodies and black hats on their heads in an effort to blur their sexual identity.


Artistic director of the Mehola ensemble Yaniv Hoffman expressed his revulsion at the decision and told Ynet, "The parents are shocked, the children are shocked, and we are even more shocked.


"These are only young girls, aged 13 to 16. We have performed with them at all of the national events and this is the first time in 20 years that we have come across such an extreme reaction. These are not strippers or gogo girls – the ensemble engages in culture and art."


פרסום ראשון: 06.26.08, 23:40
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