Politics and fashion clashed on the red carpet after Israeli Culture Minister Miri Regev wore a “Jerusalem dress” to the Cannes Film Festival on Wednesday.
Ms Regev’s dress – which featured a Jerusalem skyline showing the Western Wall and the Dome of The Rock – was digitally altered by some online users to instead show the concrete separation barrier in and around the West Bank and explosions in Gaza.
Jerusalem holds significance to both Israelis and Palestinians and its status is sensitive and complex. While Palestinians see East Jerusalem as the capital of their future state, Israel proclaims the entire city as its capital.
Earlier this month, Unesco passed a resolution in which is said Jerusalem was “occupied” by Israel, and which was denounced by Israeli authorities.
Called “Trump in high heels” by her critics, Ms Regev previously served in the army where she also acted as chief media censor, Brigadier General, and IDF spokesperson.
“Israeli Culture Minister Miri Regev wears provocative dress at Cannes. Someone on the internet redresses the problem (pun intended),” one Twitter user commented.
Pro-Palestinian Facebook posts have repurposed the image of the dress with bloodied stains and the Israeli flag as well as a Palestinian woman crying out among the rubble of buildings in the 2014 offensive on the Gaza Strip.
Commenting on the dress, Ms Regev called Jerusalem Israel’s “eternal capital” and said: “This year we are celebrating 50 years since the liberation and reunification of Jerusalem… I am proud to celebrate this historic date through art and fashion.”
But Palestinian Deputy Information Minister Mahmoud Khalifa said that the dress aimed to “whitewash the dark racism of the occupation”.
A reference to the 1967 Six-Day Waralso appeared in one photoshop of the dress, superimposing an iconic image by photojournalist David Rubinger of three Israeli soldiers celebrating the recapture of the Western Wall.
Some Israelis also poked fun at the dress, including the popular over-the-top character Miri Paskal – played by actor Ilan Peled – who resurfaced in recent years after having gained fame on the TV show Echad Ha’am 101.