No Mini for Minnie

While so much of the news from the US makes its way to Israel, it usually consists of items which will somehow impact the daily lives of Israelis.  So it came as a bit of a surprise to hear the story of Minnie Mouse’s revamped wardrobe finding its way onto our Israeli evening news broadcast.

After all, one would think that the news of Minnie ditching her once famous red and white polka dot dress for a more updated 2022 styled pantsuit ranks being very low on the list of what interests Middle-Eastern minds. So why did it make the grade of “important developments,” and who thought it was actually newsworthy to the Israeli culture?

This latest Minnie phenomenon is definitely “woke” driven – meaning that it’s just one more casualty in a long line of throwing out the old in favor creating a new paradigm shift – one which is seen as more equitable and more progressive.  In this case, it is yet another thinly-veiled challenge towards those who perceive dresses as typically being feminine or characterizing the conventional female look.

But haven’t you heard?  Not only dresses are passe, but being a stereotype representative of your particular gender is also a relic of days long forgotten.  Right now, the fairly new American “woke” concept of neutralizing gender is making its way to other hemispheres.  What began as a visual concept, pertaining to the outward appearance, will, undoubtedly, become a more socially driven push to reject the traditional way in which women have dressed.

So how does that play out here in Israel?  Well, given that there is still a very vibrant religious segment of the population throughout the country, the women in those communities will, without a doubt, continue to wear dresses, as has been their custom.  In fact, they won’t be ditching their ankle-length frocks for a shorter mini version anytime soon, let alone for a pantsuit.

They will continue to live within the accepted framework of their gender, fully embracing it and content to look like the person they were designated to be at birth.  Consequently, the whole Minnie Mouse clothing shift is completely lost on them.

As far as other Israeli women go, since I am one of them, albeit a transplant, but one who has observed native-born females for nearly three decades, it’s accurate to say that most dress on the more conservative side but with great emphasis towards their femininity.

In fact, when it comes to evening events such as weddings or bar mitzvahs, it’s almost unheard of to see female guests not wearing a dress.  While that is not true of the day to day work week where women mostly wear pants, albeit not pantsuits, dresses are still widely seen as the ultimate dress-up evening attire.

Perhaps this is unknown to those of the American woke persuasion, but it should not have been unknown to the individual responsible for what gets televised on Israeli news.

The whole notion of importing a “woke” agenda to Israel is ludicrous given our unique Middle-Eastern culture which separates us from all others.

The ideas born out of this movement such as critical race theory, pitting whites against blacks as oppressors and the oppressed simply won’t play out here.  That’s not to say that certain minorities haven’t felt marginalized throughout the nation’s existence, but there has been a concerted rejection of that kind of behavior and mindset by the majority of Israeli citizens who tend to be liberal, open-minded and accepting of others.

In terms of other woke philosophies, such as defunding the police, defacing or destroying historical figures, these are not acceptable values in a country which still honors and esteems those who lost their lives clearing the mosquito-infested swamps, defending our land against those who sought to annihilate us or the brave souls who fought in one of our many wars so that the rest of us could live securely in a Jewish homeland.

Our solemn ceremonies are sacrosanct and our memorials are reminders of the great cost and sacrifice which others were willing to pay.  In short, we value our history, and it would take a lot to undermine those precious foundational morals and ethics which are the very fabric of our strong and enduring Jewish society.

It’s sad, especially for those of us who were born in the USA to see the contempt that is being displayed for societal elements which were once respected, revered and guarded.  No longer is that true.  Pretty much everything is up for grabs these days as unprincipled woke, progressives put on their thinking caps to see what the next thing to dismantle should be.

Israel, who has had a long love affair with America, admiring so much of her culture, would be best served by not following this destructive path of undermining her own sturdy foundations. We are, after all, not just aimless individuals who have no leadership influence on the rest of the world.  To the contrary, our prophets charged us with these words, “The law will go out from Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.” (Isaiah 2:3)

The moral compass is in our hands, and, with that, comes the responsibility and personal resolve to not only live in a way which honors those who came before us but also to inspire other nations to respect and revere those who did all they could to advance freedom, liberty and the continuation of a great society.

America’s willingness to embrace a departure from her rich legacy of brave men and women, albeit flawed like the rest of us, will end in shame and degradation as she forgets who she once was.  She, as Minnie, will take on another look with another life form in order to placate a new but empty generation who respects nothing.  As for us, here in Israel, we’ll be just fine without a Minnie makeover!

About the Author
A former Jerusalem elementary and middle-school principal and the granddaughter of European Jews who arrived in the US before the Holocaust. Making Aliyah in 1993, she is retired and now lives in the center of the country with her husband.
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