Linor Abargil at the ceremony
Linor Abargil at the ceremonyCourtesy of the Culture and Sport Ministry

Retired court judge Oded Alyagon responded on Saturday to the outcry caused by his remarks about Linor Abargil's head covering at the torch lighting ceremony on Independence Day on Thursday.

Abargil is an Israeli lawyer, actress, model and beauty queen who won the Miss World beauty pageant in 1998 at the age of 18. Shortly before she won, she was raped. Later, she shared her ordeal and became an advocate against sexual violence. In recent years, she grew closer to religion and began covering her hair. Following her presentation at the torch lighting ceremony, Alyagon wrote a post on his Facebook page criticizing Abargil for wearing a fitted dress, claiming that it was immodest and not in concordance with her head covering.

"I'm aware of the outcry," he said in an interview on Channel 13 News. "Storms come and then they pass, I don't see my comments as harsh, maybe blatant."

"She was raped - it's true, it's sad, it's unfortunate," the judge said. "But it's irrelevant. You don't let a woman present a program like this because of that. She has to have other qualities. I think that a woman who wears a headscarf on the one hand and wears a very tight dress on the other hand, is hypocritical."

The remarks of the retired judge were dismissed in the court system. "This is a disgraceful and miserable statement by a judge who retired 13 years ago from the court system," the court system wrote in a statement. "The court system completely rejects it."

"Today, a candidate like Alyagon wouldn't enter the gates of the Judicial Selection Committee," wrote outgoing Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, "and to my delight, his pseudo-enlightened views also don't enter the gates of Israeli society today, which loudly condemns them."

MK Pnina Tamanu-Shata (Blue and White) said, "We remind all those who criticize and ridicule Linor's head covering that everyone, regardless of appearance, origin, sex / inclination and religion in Israeli society, has a place on Israeli television."