‘Immodest dress’: Left-wing activist expelled from ‘solidarity visit’ to mosque, imam forced to resign

“When I came to the mosque, I was surprised that a group of Jews had arrived in the clothes you saw,” said the imam. “We kicked them out.”

By Adina Katz, World Israel News

A senior executive of a prominent left-wing NGO was expelled from a mosque in a Palestinian Authority-controlled town and an imam was forced to resign, after she chose to visit the holy site in a dress that left her knees and lower legs exposed.

New Israel Fund Associate Director Shira Ben Sasson Furstenberg, along with other left-wing Jewish activists, had arranged a “solidarity visit” at a mosque in the PA town of Urif, coordinating in advance with the municipality’s leaders and the man responsible for the local mosque, Sheikh Karem Shahada.

The activists asked to visit Urif after settlers reportedly vandalized buildings in the town, following the brutal shooting terror attack that killed four Israeli civilians in the nearby town of Eli.

But when photos emerged of the group’s visit, which included shots of Ben Sasson Furstenberg clad in a short-sleeved, above-the-knee dress, women with uncovered heads, and men and women sitting together inside the mosque, residents of Urif were outraged.

Sheikh Shahada then posted an Arabic-language video to his social media accounts in an attempt to save face, which was translated by HaKol HaYehudi.

“When I came to the mosque, I was surprised that a group of Jews had arrived in the clothes you saw,” Shahada said.

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“Of course, what happened is a sad thing, it is a forbidden thing and it is a shameful thing. And of course, I understood the danger of the situation, when I looked and saw them in this way.”

Shahada then claimed that the village’s council had been responsible for planning the visit, and that had he been aware that the group in question were “Jewish infidels,” he would not have permitted them to tour the mosque.

“I told them, you can’t stay, and we kicked them out,” Shahadada said.

However, the explanatory video could not save Shahada’s standing at the mosque. Facing enormous backlash from local residents, he resigned from his position as imam on Monday morning, according to a Jewish Press report.

Several weeks ago, a different left-wing group posted guidelines for Israelis wishing to engage in a solidarity visit to the town of Huwara, from which numerous deadly terror attacks have originated in recent months.

The group’s request that women dress conservatively for the visit was widely mocked on Twitter, as users noted the inherent hypocrisy among left-wing activists who are staunchly opposed to influence from Orthodox Jews in the public sphere yet indulgent of Islamic modesty standards.