Busness as Usual

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More news from the Apartheid state of Israel:

Nabila Abu Dabai considers herself a strong woman who loves a good challenge.

When she married, she was prepared for life as a housewife and full time mother, but a harsh reality struck her soon after, changing her plans entirely.

Abu Dabai, a 31-year-old Arab resident of Nazareth, suffered years of violence at the hand of her husband, until the couple divorced two years ago, giving her and her 8-year-old son a chance at a new life.

Abu Dabai now looks forward to a new and uncharacteristic chapter in her life; she and 21 others will participate in a bus driving course. One-third of the course’s participants are Arab women.

In the meantime, she is working as an assistant at a daycare center, a position she found with the help of From the Heart, a project run by the Wisconsin Program, which helps unemployed people to find work.

The Wisconsin Program operates in four regions throughout the country that were chosen as those which reflect Israeli society – Nazareth and Upper Nazareth, Hadera, Jerusalem, and Ashkelon.

Tirza Ben-Haim, project manager of From the Heart in the north, said that about 80 percent of the program’s participants in Nazareth and Upper Nazareth were Arab, including many single mothers.

The program has a total of 6,000 participants, of which 60 percent are women. Since the program began operating in the north a year and a half ago, it has found work for about 2,000 participants in professions such as nursing, security, cleaning services, education, and others.

“Every unemployed person in the program goes through a process. Arab women, for example, go through changes after having never needed to work, and we are here to help them.

Elsewhere in the Middle East, women cannot even drive in Saudi Arabia, and one cannot even imagine a palestinian woman being encouraged to go on a bus sans bomb belt.

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An Aussie immigrant to Israel, David Lange is founder and managing editor of Israellycool. He is a happy family man, and a lover of steak, Australian sports and single malt whisky.