MK Sharren Haskel has put on a head covering for a week in solidarity with Jewish and Muslim women of faith.
In a Facebook post, in which Haskel can be seen with a colorful scarf on her head, she said she made the decision to cover her long, black curly hair after she heard “venomous criticism” of Linor Abargil, who hosted Israel’s Yom Haatzmaut torch-lighting ceremony.
Abargil is an Israeli lawyer, actress, model and beauty queen, who won the Miss World beauty pageant in 1998. Today, she is married and covers her hair, as per Orthodox Jewish tradition.
“The torch-lighting ceremony is meant to be a unifying ceremony for all citizens of Israel,” Haskel wrote. “The Israeli fabric is composed of a mosaic of religions and cultures….Our ability to survive in this country, despite the rifts between us, stems from the ability to respect and accept each other.”
She said those who criticized Abargil for wearing her headscarf on stage “put a wedge of hatred” between Israel’s sects.
“The choice of a woman to wear a head covering is personal,” Haskel said. “Men who criticize and ridicule a woman's choice to wear a head covering are no different from men who demand that their wives or daughters put it on.”
She also said that when women tell other women what choices they should make, it shows that feminism is far from successful. She explained that women, too, have been “a major obstacle” to women’s liberation, “because not only did they not date to challenge the world order, they chose to participate in it.”
“Feminism is a personal choice,” Haskel continued. “Every one of us has to choose how we want to live our lives - what to wear, what to learn, how to work, when to start a family and with whom. It is our life, and these are our decisions alone. Women: Remember that before you decide for someone else what is right or what is good for her.”
Haskel concluded her lengthy Facebook post with a call to other women to wear a headscarf in support of Abargil, “not only out of solidarity...but in protest to patronage and arrogance.
“I call on secular women to stand by the traditional women, the ultra-Orthodox and the Arab women who cover their heads by choice!” Haskel wrote as she changed her profile picture to one with her wearing a headscarf. She asked the other women to change their pictures, too.