Police shuts down all known strip clubs in Tel Aviv

The concern of the Israeli authorities is that clubs which allow lap dances also allow other types of sex work, and are therefore harmful to women and other people who engage in stripping.

A woman wears spiked stilettos as she practises a pole dancing move during an International Women's Day event  (photo credit: JASON REED/REUTERS)
A woman wears spiked stilettos as she practises a pole dancing move during an International Women's Day event
(photo credit: JASON REED/REUTERS)
Israeli police, working in cooperation with the Tax Authority and the Tel Aviv District Prosecutor Office, closed three strip clubs in Tel Aviv on Monday.  
The Go-go girls, Shendu and Baby dolls were closed, allegedly, making the city a strip-club free zone. 
Israeli law forbids sex work, and lap dances are defined as a type of sex work since they are meant to offer gratification. However dancing on a pole without any contact with clients is not illegal. 
The concern of the Israeli authorities is that clubs which allow lap dances also allow other types of sex work, and are therefore harmful to women and other people who engage in stripping. 
Israel is the tenth country in the world to adopt a law incriminating people who pay for sex, the law includes people who are present in a place which is used for sex work, even if they themselves did not pay for it. 
While the law was lauded by many who oppose sex work, arguing it is exploitive and degrading, others claim that the state should not tell adults what to do with their bodies. 

“It is time that strip clubs, not to mention sex work, ought to vanish from the world,” Kol Hanashim party said in a press release. 
 
“We welcome the closing down of all strip clubs in Tel Aviv,” the report said. The party vowed to act to eradicate such things should it enter Knesset in the March elections. 

The Israeli Association of Strippers said that dozens of people had been fired on Monday due to the fact that "A man who never met us, doesn't know us or about our lives, decided what we can and can not do with our body." By "a man" they mean the State Attorney.  
"Nobody spent a moment of thought on what are we going to do [to get by] tomorrow," the press release follows. 
The association called on policemen and attorneys working for the State Prosecutor's office to meet with them to discuss how to arrange the functioning of strip clubs. 

Women who used to work at the clubs demonstrated outside the GoGo club against the decision on Monday evening.


Head of the Israeli Association of Strippers Michelle said in a Channel 12 interview on Tuesday that following the new laws, strippers no longer perform lap dances and dance keeping a 20cm distance from the patron. She also argued that during her four years as a stripper she did not witness exploitation. 
 
“I made an effort to meet Feminist activists and understand their point of view,” she said, “and I think the fact none of them agreed to be here on the show and speak with me speaks volumes.” 
 
“I think my phone must be broken,” she said, “because nobody from the Feminist NGO’s called me to offer help [to pay the bills] after my club was closed down.” 

Tel Aviv deputy mayor Tzipi Brand said on Monday that she personally toured strip clubs and saw “the hardships of these women.” 
 
“The world of stripping, as it currently operates, has no room here [in Tel Aviv],” she said, “we will work to rehabilitate these women and offer them help in every way possible.”  
The son of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Yair Netanyahu, was reported in 2018 to visit strip clubs and say “My dad arranged for your dad $20 billion, and you’re fighting with me about NIS 400?”
Pole Dancing, which used to be seen as lewd, is now a fairly acceptable athletic activity for women and men and competitions are held in it and awards handed out. 
Pole dancing champion Alisa Pleskova trained Israeli model and television presenter Rotem Sela when she was asked to pole dance for a commercial.