The last three strip clubs operating in the Tel Aviv have been closed down following authorities’ enforcement of a law that defines lap dances as a type of sex work.
Israeli police, in conjunction with the Tel Aviv District Prosecutor’s Office and Tax Authority, served the Baby Dolls, GoGo Girls and Shendu strip clubs with closure orders on Monday as a part of an administrative enforcement of a controversial law forbidding sex work in the country.
The order demands the clubs be closed for 30 days as authorities investigate the businesses, according to Haaretz. While sex work has long been illegal in Israel, police’s shuttering of the trio of clubs comes as an enforcement of new laws put into place in April 2019 which classify lap dancing as a form of sex work and made the buying of such dances a criminal offense.
According to the 2018 push from then-Israeli State Attorney Shai Nitzan, lap dances were described as “a sexual act of physical contact intended to please” and, in some cases, “constitutes prostitution.”
Pole dancing, however, is still allowed – depending on one’s distance from the patron.
The head of the Israeli Association of Strippers, identified only as “Michelle,” told local news station Channel 12 that the new laws require dancers to keep a 20-centimeter distance from clubgoers.