Everyone knows the summer beach clubs along the Tel Aviv coastline are for the young and beautiful (or the filthy rich). It only takes one painful night of trying to wave down a hot chick with a clipboard to learn your lesson clear through the end of September: Don't show up 'round these parts past 11 p.m. without a friend on the list or a cleavage bouquet for an entourage.
But 48-year-old Israeli politician Miri Regev isn't taking "No" for an answer. The extreme right-winger, who formerly served as the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Spokesperson and currently sits on the Israeli Knesset (the country's 120-member parliament), posted an angry rant to her YouTube account last Thursday, calling out beach club Clara for allegedly turning her away at the door. (Not surprising, really, with that morbid shade of lipstick and matronly neckline she showed up with. Don't hate the beach club, MK Regev, hate the game.)
The scene behind her is typical weekend Clara: No clear line, just a bunch of 18-year-olds clustering hopelessly around the entry pen, trying to suck their lollipops and gaze at their text messages just nonchalantly enough to impress clipboard chick and join the cool kids inside.
Ironically, MK Regev is best known around the world for comparing the spread of African migrants throughout Israel to a "cancer," helping incite race riots in South Tel Aviv with her anti-Sudanese rhetoric and reportedly refusing to let an Eritrean enter her chartered bus. Now, she claims to have been personally subjected to Tel Aviv's poshest brand of discrimination: the Bouncer Block.
The Times of Israel reports:
Regev was on a tour of the city’s bars and clubs to examine the widespread use of selection, or denial of access. It’s especially egregious, according to her, when the process prevents IDF soldiers from entering places.
When she reached the Clara club in the city’s beachside Dolphinarium complex, the MK, infamous for her outspoken criticism of Israel’s African migrant community, was blocked by bouncers at the door. Despite her attempt to reason with the guards, Regev was rejected repeatedly.
Finally, after summoning the owner of the Clara club and reminding him that the Tel Aviv Municipality had recently proposed a law to impose penalties on clubs and bars found guilty of selection, Regev was allowed onto the dance floor.
At which point, one would assume, MK Regev promptly left the dance floor.
The guy who takes table reservations for Clara started giggling uncontrollably when I told him about Regev's video, and told me to call Clara's landline for official comment. And the guy who answered the landline sounded annoyed, saying only "Everyone gets in who wants to" before the line cut out; he didn't pick up the rest of the day. (Hey, I tried.)
But the Likud party's outspoken frontwoman claims that velvet-rope discrimination in Tel Aviv goes beyond who's hot and who's not. “When soldiers from the best units in the IDF who protect the country are not allowed into clubs, that is shameful," she says in the video (as translated by the Times of Israel). And Channel 7 reports that Regev "claimed to have witnessed firsthand how a soldier was refused entry into a club after being 'screened' at the entrance." So she has taken action, proposing a local law to combat nightclub selection.
I contacted Regev for more on this alleged anti-army bias — which online commenters call a conspiracy by Leftist nightclub owners — but I have yet to hear back. In the meantime, the only other report I can find on IDF soldiers being turned away from Tel Aviv clubs is one from 2007 on IDF Radio, claiming that two IDF combat soldiers were kicked out of vegetarian queer bar Rogatka after being told by staff that their "uniforms symbolize genocide and violence."
Which seems to be a separate issue than Regev not fitting Clara's mainstream jailbait profile, but YouTube tours to publicize proposed Knesset bills have their limitations.
Across varying media reports, it's unclear whether Regev's new law would specifically ban clubs from blocking IDF soldiers from entry, or if it would ban door discrimination in general. However, not once in her PR rounds has she mentioned the problem of bouncer racism against Africans and other minorities in Tel Aviv — because heaven forbid the cancer spread to the dance floor.
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