Another International Women’s Day during Israel Apartheid Week,
while each year the IAW hate-fest gets longer and louder,
not much else has changed.
Hanin Zoabi can still yell about
“occupation and injustice” from inside the Knesset.
She can shout that Israel is a Jewish state and not democratic.
She rants against the Israeli government
and retains her seat in the Knesset
and her right to free speech.
Does she not see her freedoms as an Arab woman in Israel,
as compared to females in the rest of Arab world?
There are not just female Arab Knesset members,
but Arab – Muslim girls visit the Knesset on a regular basis,
an Arab girl can work as a guide,
while an Arab female Knesset member speaks with the media.
When seven new Qadis were sworn in at Beit Hanasi,
the Israeli President’s official residence,
females were not among the new Islamic Sharia judges,
but Muslim women and girls were invited and attended.
Women in Saudi Arabia are still not allowed to drive a car.
Sometimes new female drivers are chaperoned,
but in Jerusalem, Israel,
I have seen a female driving instructor wearing a hijab.
Life is not always a day in the park,
but many like to sit and enjoy the new Teddy Fountain.
Arab girls can walk about freely.
They can be found
with cell phones texting inside an office building,
or alone on the street.
As this couple was crossing busy King George Street,
there were two Israeli girls in uniform on the other side,
who did not even notice they were there.
Arab women and girls can be found,
shopping in the Machane Yehuda Market, the shuk,
in Talpiot, in groups
day or night,
in the stores of Mamilla Mall,
or along Jaffe Street in town.
Photos of Arab girls,
walking to Jaffa Gate and the Old City,
or eating in a cafe on Ben Yehuda Mall,
are normal, every day, no-news occurrences.
I have too many photos to share.
But, these are three all-time favorites:
This woman and other Arab women receiving diplomas for
their advanced graduate degrees in science at Hebrew University.
This woman taking a selfie at the Western Wall Plaza,
while hundreds of IDF soldiers waited for a special ceremony.
And this one,
oh, those Arab girls.
Five years have gone by since my first post,
and Arab women and girls in the Middle East
still have more freedom in Israel.
Updated: On March 13, 2016,
one photo was requested to be removed.
March 8, 2021 – the young woman who asked to have her photo removed let me take it when she was a Knesset tour guide. Today she is serving as an Israeli diplomat in a foreign country.