London: An Arab magazine based in Israel has broken taboos by being the first to feature a bikini-clad model on its cover.
Yara Mashour, who is an Arab Israeli and editor in chief of the magazine Lilac, has set out to challenge customs and tradition, and her latest milestone is perhaps her biggest triumph to date.
The model, Huda Naccache, 22, from Haifa, is pictured posing in a black sequinned bikini on the cover, and her fixed stare portrays the magazine’s determination to make a difference.
In a region that is known for gender discrimination, women’s rights violations and spousal domination, Lilac is daring to tread where no other publisher in the Middle East has ventured.
“Since I established Lilac in Nazareth, Israel 10 years ago, I set out to break taboos regarding women in society... I worked on empowering and liberating women,” the Daily Mail quoted Mashour as saying.
“Huda is the first Arab model to appear on the cover of an Arabic magazine in a bikini. Lilac is the first Arabic magazine to show a cover with a bikini!
“I don’t recall this being done elsewhere in the Arab world. I have been working for a decade on changing society so Arab women can have more rights and freedom in the Middle East,” she stated.
As for Naccache, she says she is honoured to be part of the gradual - and often stymied - move for change in the region.
“I am very proud to be the first to wear a bikini on the Lilac’s cover. I am a professional model and this should be normal,” she stated.
“At the beginning, I was reluctant to appear on the cover in a bikini, because of concern to our society’s norms.
“Later I realised that if I want to be successful, I can’t choose what I want, and I talked to my parents, who became convinced by my view. I would never do something without their blessing,” she added.