Aliza Lavie

Hamas’s war on women

Gaza's leaders have invested in war, not in a better future for Palestinian women and children

Hamas is not only at war with Israel. Hamas is at war with its own people.

We have seen in recent days pictures of the many advanced tunnels Hamas built. These advanced tunnels are reinforced by concrete for kilometers.

The entrance to a tunnel exposed by the Israeli military is seen on the Israeli side of the Israel-Gaza border. (photo credit: Amir Cohen/Reuters)
The entrance to a tunnel exposed by the Israeli military is seen on the Israeli side of the Israel-Gaza border. (photo credit: Amir Cohen/Reuters)

It is clear that instead of building schools, health systems and universities with the millions of dollars in international aid given to Gaza, Hamas has chosen to utilize this funding to devise ways to attack Israel.

And many people in Gaza are not happy about this.

Recent polls, cited in an article by the Washington Institute, show that many in Gaza are unhappy with Hamas’s governance. The polls found that 78% of those questioned said that the “presence of Palestinian militias that are not organized under the formal security structure” is at least a “moderate” problem.

Instead of supporting education and creating new infrastructure to give their citizens a chance at a better life, Hamas has chosen to use the money to bring more chaos, more unrest.

I believe that if Hamas had women within their leadership, women involved in making decisions for the people of Gaza, things may have turned out very differently.

Time and again, research has shown that given political power, women choose to devote resources to building infrastructure, creating better school systems and improving public health.

Hamas chose to do the opposite.

When I was a soldier over 30 years ago in the Education Corps, I would take soldiers to see the communities in Gaza. We lived together, Arabs and Israelis, in beautiful, productive communities that had been there for centuries. I would show them the beautiful synagogues, the ancient Gaza Synagogue, with its mosaics dating back to the Byzantine period.

Now we find in Gaza a standard of living that is, in all honesty, a humanitarian crisis. At the end of the day, this reality affects women and their families the most.

Women are prisoners within their own homes. Prisoners to a terrorist organization that does not have their best interests in mind. Prisoners to a government that favors funding militant terrorism rather than investing in families.

Hamas has oriented Gaza towards war, not towards building a better future for their wives, children and families.

I believe that in order to bring peace between the two nations, there must be peace within each nation, peace within homes, peace within families.

As a mother, my heart goes out to the women of Gaza, their children, their families. I hope for peace, a real, everlasting peace, for the sake of your family, and mine.

About the Author
Dr. Aliza Lavie served as a member of the Knesset for Yesh Atid between 2013 and 2019, serving as chair of the Committee on the Status of Women and Gender Equality. She is a senior lecturer at the School of Communication at Bar-Ilan University.