- AFP |
Israeli Culture Minister Miri Regev triggered a social media storm on Thursday after she attended the Cannes film festival in an evening dress featuring a Jerusalem Islamic shrine. Several tweets altered what one called the "provocative" garment which shows a panorama of the walled Old City in Israeli-occupied east Jerusalem, including the Dome of the Rock, located in the flashpoint Al-Aqsa mosque compound.
The site, known to Jews as the Temple Mount, is sacred to both Muslims and Jews and a regular scene of friction between them. It is the holiest site in Judaism and the third-holiest in Islam, after Mecca and Medina. One tweet redesigns the dress to show a nighttime scene of the Old City with fireworks bursting overhead and no sign of the Dome of the Rock.
The Twitter account of "Exposing Israel's Agenda" shows her Cannes dress as emblazoned with a blue-and-white Israeli flag and spattered with blood. It says that Regev's message is that "occupied #Jerusalem is their capital." Other social media users replaced the image of Jerusalem with Israel's separation wall dividing it from the West Bank.
Regev, a former military censor, serves in what is seen as Israel's most rightwing government ever and is an outspoken member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party. She has spoken in favour of allowing Jewish prayer at the Al-Aqsa compound, currently banned for fears it could spark an Islamic backlash.
Israeli newspaper Maariv said her fashion choice was in homage to next week's Jerusalem Day, when Israel marks 50 years since its seizure of mainly Arab east Jerusalem according to the Jewish calendar. In 1980, the Jewish state annexed east Jerusalem in an act never recognised by the international community.
Israel says the whole city is its united capital, while the Palestinians claim east Jerusalem as the capital of their future state. Some tweets came from fans of Regev's wardrobe choice. "We say W O W. That is a statement dress! Miri Regev brought #Jerusalem straight to the #redcarpet," said one.
Others seemed more concerned about her fashion sense than her message. "Regardless of your politics, I hope we can all agree: whatever Miri Regev paid for this dress, it was too much," said one. (AFP)