The Deep Meaning Behind Ivanka Trump's Hat in Israel

Tanya Edwards

Joining her father President Donald Trump on his trip through the Middle East, Ivanka Trump has dressed more modestly than usual, and that streak has continued during their visit to Israel.

Ivanka Trump covered her head in Israel. (Photo: Getty Images)

The first daughter was photographed wearing a rarely seen accessory (at least on her): a hat. She wore the small navy hat perched on one side on her head, with a headband securing the velvet topper. Her hair was styled in a soft chignon at the nape of her neck.

Hats are worn by Orthodox Jewish women following the concept of Tzniut, which is Hebrew for modesty or humility in both dress and behavior. Orthodox women will opt for loose clothing in muted colors that do not draw attention, long-sleeve tops, skirts long enough to cover the knee while sitting and close-toed shoes. And in some traditional communities, women will wear a hat after marriage, especially at a synagogue or Holy site.

The Western Wall, which Ivanka visited today, is Judaism’s holiest prayer site.

Ivanka Trump prays as she touches the Western Wall, Judaism’s holiest prayer site, in Jerusalem’s Old City May 22, 2017. (Photo: Reuters/Heidi Levine/Pool)

The rest of her look was also more modest than what’s typically seen from Ivanka, who converted to Judaism in 2009 before marrying husband Jared Kushner. She wore a black long-sleeved top with a navy sash, and a $959 midi-length navy pleated skirt by Cédric Charlier, which aligned with the modest Orthodox dress code. She carried a black clutch and wore $135 black pumps from her namesake line. Her makeup was minimal, with only a subtle dark pink pop of lipstick.

First Lady Melania Trump and Ivanka Trump leave the Western Wall, Judaism’s holiest prayer site, in Jerusalem’s Old City May 22, 2017. (Photo: Reuters/Heidi Levine/Pool)

Ivanka’s choice to wear a head covering was in stark contrast to how she appeared in Saudi Arabia during  the president’s first overseas trip. Following in Michelle Obama’s footsteps, Ivanka and Melania both opted to forgo a headscarf in Saudi Arabia, the conservative country that is governed by Sharia law and expects women in public to be fully covered.

Melania and Ivanka weren’t the first women from foreign governments visiting Saudi Arabia to go uncovered. British prime minister Theresa May and German chancellor Angela Merkel, who both visited Saudi Arabia on separate occasions in the past few months, didn’t wear headscarves either. Neither did Laura Bush as FLOTUS or Hillary Clinton and Condoleezza Rice, when they were each serving as Secretary of State.

Ivanka made quite an impression on the Saudis, though. As detailed in the English-language website Arab News, as soon as the president’s daughter stepped off the airplane in Saudi Arabia, she entered the Arabic-speaking spotlight and caused the Twitter hashtag “Ivanka bint Trump,” or “Trump’s daughter,” to trend on the social media platform.

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