New Job Opportunities For Arab Women In “Apartheid” Israel & “Concentration Camp” Gaza

Suhaila PadillaMeet Suhaila Padilla, Israel’s only female Muslim bus driver.

According to this Marker article (currently only in Hebrew sorry), she has been doing it for 3 years already, loves her job and wants to be a train driver one day.

And soon she won’t be alone.

Less than 30 percent of Arab women participate in the Israeli work force – a higher rate than in the past but still unusually low, despite government efforts to increase those numbers.

Israel is also suffering a serious shortage of bus drivers, about 1,500 in number.

These two facts have prompted a push on the part of the Transportation Ministry to recruit Israeli Arab women to drive the vehicles.

In addition to a comprehensive bus driver’s course, the women will get Hebrew lessons, technical training and instruction on customer service. The Arab-owned bus company Afifi has already committed to employing the female graduates on its bus lines in the Nazareth area.

And no women driver jokes.

Nevertheless, the government ministries involved in the initiative decided to forge ahead, citing, among other considerations, that women tend to be more careful drivers. The government will pay the cost of the course and also provide stipends of NIS4,000 ($1,000) per month during the three and a-half month training, the daily Haaretz reported. Participants will commit to work as drivers for at least a year.

This, while women in Saudi Arabia cannot even drive!

But maybe that is an unfair comparison on my part. After all, our neighbors in Gaza are also stepping up efforts to employ women.

Their unit’s latest weapon is women. Throughout Gaza, armed groups have stepped up their recruitment. Now, each one — including Hamas’s Qassam Brigades and Palestinian Islamic Jihad — has a female contingent.

No one knows exactly how many female fighters there are in Gaza, but theNasserSalahuddin Brigade boasts 80 female combatants working in 25-women units.No one knows exactly how many female fighters there are in Gaza, but the Nasser Salahuddin Brigade boasts 80 female combatants working in 25-women units. Each unit has female commanding officers, who answer to a male superior. Hundreds of other women also offer support roles.

“We fit the training around our domestic chores,” said Hadifa, 26, her face obscured by a niqab, while cuddling an assault rifle during a midnight meeting at her Gaza City home. She said the women are trained to use sniper rifles, AKs, RPGs, M16s, and also how to drive cars through war zones, how to fight with a knife, and most recently how to capture an Israeli soldier in battle.

Most of the women, like Hadifa, are either married to brigade members or are sisters of the fighters, and were inspired to join the fighting groups after losing several members of their families in the recent wars. It is not hard to see why they would be a military asset: Women have an easier time moving around war zones, due to the presumption that they are civilians. As a result, they can deliver weapons and food to fighters on the front lines with less risk than their male counterparts.

“We also watch the roads, protecting the men as they move,” said Om Adam, 40, the wife of a senior Nasser Salahuddin commander and one of the oldest of the female fighters.


David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media

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