Tehila Katabi Drori just wanted to celebrate her birthday with her husband at Yamit Spa 2000 in Holon. She did not imagine that because of her religious beliefs of dressing in a modest bathing suit she would not be allowed to use the jacuzzi that they paid for
In a Facebook post that was picked up by local Israeli news channels, Drori told her story about the humiliation she suffered at Yamit Water Park 2000 after being banned in the Jacuzzi because of her modest swimsuit.
“As part of a birthday celebration, my husband and I decided to go to a spa and get massages,” Drori wrote on Facebook. “After making inquiries, we went to the Yamit Spa 2000, which is located inside a water park. We bought tickets and we got massages. Afterward, we went to the spa section to use the Jacuzzi and sauna which we paid for when we purchased our tickets.”
“When I tried to enter the Jacuzzi, a security guard who was standing at the entrance approached me and said I couldn’t go in. I looked at him strangely and asked why. He told me because of what I’m wearing. Apparently, entrance to the Jacuzzi is only allowed in a bathing suit. I have to mention that my bathing suit is made out of Lycra, which I bought for hundreds of shekels in order to meet all the standards required for bathing suits.”
“I explained to the security guard that I wasn’t wearing a regular shirt and skirt but a bathing suit in every respect, and he was welcome to feel it to make sure. The answer was unequivocal – forbidden. I asked him where the manager was because I wasn’t going to accept this. After wasting forty minutes of my birthday outing going from one person to another, I finally spoke with Gil the manager. I showed him my bathing suit and demanded that I be able to enter the Jacuzzi. His answer was: ‘only with a regular bathing suit like it’s written on the sign.'”
“I responded that it says by the entrance ‘only in a bathing suit’ and I’m wearing a bathing suit. He answered, ‘only these type of bathing suits.’ I understood that there was no one to talk to. I explained to Mr. Gil that it wasn’t possible that he, as the owner, chooses to exclude an entire community of religious (and Arab) people! It can’t be that if I don’t conform to a particular dress code which contradicts my views and principles, I’m excluded from the rest of society.”
Drori concludes: “I appeal to you, to the religious, secular and Arab communities and everyone in the state of Israel. We’re in 2019. How can this still be happening in our country? Recently there’s been many headlines about ‘religious coercion’ and here is ‘secular coercion.'”
A response from the Ministry of Health has not yet been received, but according to the Ministry of Health’s guidelines regarding proper sanitary conditions for swimming pools there is no condition to the swimsuits that users are required to wear.