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Israeli Minister Dismisses Critics Who Panned Jerusalem-Themed Dress At Cannes

(JTA) – Israel’s culture minister dismissed criticism over her wearing to the Cannes Film Festival’s opening a dress whose hem features an image of Jerusalem.

“Jerusalem is not a provocation, and it was lovely to see how much affection the dress received at Cannes,” Miri Regev, a member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s rightist Likud party, told Ynet in an interview about the dress.

Nir Hason, Haaretz’s Jerusalem correspondent, said the image of the al-Aqsa mosque on the dress, which also showed the Western Wall, was disrespectful.

“Such disrespect for the most important, prettiest, most complete and most ancient religious structure in the Middle East,” he wrote. “A tremendous shame.”

But Yair Hass, the founder of the Jerusalem-based Halel, a group that supports Orthodox Jews who opt to pursue less observant lifestyles, disagreed.

“She did [it] out of a great respect for Jerusalem,” wrote Hass, who nonetheless said he found Regev’s dress “distasteful, silly and childish.” But “wearing a dress featuring an image of Jerusalem is no different than wearing a shirt with such an image.”

The designer was Aviad Arik Herman, a Sweden-based Israeli, who said he had worked on the dress for six months at Regev’s request and with his mother’s help.

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