Source: The Washington Post
The photo ignited a debate over French values and religious liberty but also sparked curiosity worldwide. Why do women cover up on the beach? Is it their choice? And does it really matter what swimwear people wear?
Even after a French court overturned the ban, many Israelis felt quite smug when they heard about France’s burkini debate. Although Israel is not known as a bastion of religious tolerance, people here are quite accepting when it comes to religious attire. And it’s not unusual to see ultra-Orthodox Jewish and Muslim women fully covered on Israeli beaches, sitting next to the scantily clad.
At the SunWay warehouse in Hod Hasharon, near Tel Aviv, Anat Yahav does not refer to her line of full-coverage swimsuits as burkinis. To her, they are just modest swimsuits for anyone of any religion, shape, age or size — and for any reason.
“Who decided that women should go to the beach in a bra and panties?” Yahav said on a recent Sunday afternoon, sitting in her airy office at the entrance to SunWay’s colorful warehouse. Orders for her modest swimwear line have increased since the controversy last month, she said, and interest has certainly piqued. Her suits are widely sold — through distributors in Miami, department stories in Greece and online globally, as well as in outlets in Israel.