Stephen M. Flatow

Not very woman friendly

Sometimes, I just don’t get Palestinian Arab society.

As the world was celebrating International Women’s Day, the Palestinian Authority took a different track.

In the words of the day’s organizers, “we can actively choose to challenge stereotypes, fight bias, broaden perceptions, improve situations and celebrate women’s achievements.”  Not so the PA.

Instead of honoring and celebrating the role women play, the PA marked International Women’s Day by praising and honoring terrorists who murdered women.

Official PA Television, which had been continuously broadcasting Coronavirus news, paused on International Women’s Day to devote some attention to an apparently more important topic. The broadcast began with an interview with Um Nasser Abu Hmeid.  If the name doesn’t ring a bell, she’s the mother of five terrorists who are serving life in prison for multiple murders. The interviewer praised them as heroes and their mother spoke about how proud she was of them.

One is Muhammed Abu Hmeid. On December 14, 1990, he and a fellow-terrorist burst into a factory in Jaffa. Using long knives, they murdered Ms. Iris Asraf, a 22 year-old clerk, and two male employees.

I will spare you the horrific details of what the “hero” Muhammed did to Ms. Asraf; I will note only what the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported at the time: “The body of one victim reportedly was sliced into quarters. Another was nearly decapitated, and the a third was disemboweled.”

After the glowing interview with the murderers’ mother, photographs of Arab women terrorists filled the screen. The narrator described their “heroic” deeds and hailed them as “martyrs.” (Thanks to Palestinian Media Watch for these translations.) The fact that many of their victims were women did not diminish their status as the PA’s heroes of International Women’s Day.

There was Leila Khaled, who twice hijacked airplanes on which there were many women passengers. There was Fatima Barnawi, who planted a bomb in a Jerusalem movie theater which many women were attending.

Most of all, there was Dalal Mughrabi. She occupies a special place in the hearts of the PA regime and the Palestinian Arab public. The PA has named numerous girls’ schools, public squares, and sports tournaments after her.

What did Mughrabi do that so endears her to Palestinian Arabs?

On March 9, 1978, she led a squad of Arab terrorists who set out from Lebanon towards Israel, in several small boats. They were members of Fatah, the largest faction of the Palestine Liberation Organization. At the time, Yasir Arafat was chairman of the PLO and Fatah, and Mahmoud Abbas was his second in command. Today, Abbas is chairman of the PLO, Fatah, and the Palestinian Authority.

The Mughrabi gang’s first victim was a woman.

When Dalal Mughrabi and her fellow-terrorists landed on a northern Israeli beach, they happened to encounter Gail Rubin, an American Jewish nature photographer, who was taking photos of rare birds. Her work had been exhibited at the Jewish Museum in New York City and other prominent venues. She was also a niece of U.S. Senator Abraham Ribicoff (D-Connecticut).

One of the terrorists, Hussain Fayadh, later explained to the Lebanese Television station Al-Manar what happened: “Sister Dalal al-Mughrabi had a conversation with the American journalist. Before killing her, Dalal asked: ‘How did you enter Palestine?’ [Rubin] answered: ‘They gave me a visa.’ Dalal said: ‘Did you get your visa from me, or from Israel? I have the right to this land. Why didn’t you come to me?’ Then Dalal opened fire on her.”

As Gail laying dying on the beach, Mughrabi and her fellow-terrorists walked to the nearby Coastal Road. An Israeli bus approached. They hijacked it. And they murdered 37 passengers. Eleven of their victims were girls or women.

Tali Aharonovitch. Naomi Elichai. Galit Ankwa. Mathilda Askenazy-Daniel. Rina Bushkenitch. Liat Gal-On. Naama Hadani. Rebecca Hohman. Malka Leibovitch-Weiss. Tziona Lozia-Cohen. Rina Sosensky. Gail Rubin. That is who should be remembered on International Women’s Day.

Instead, the PA turned the occasion into a veritable International Anti-Women’s Day. Where were all the protests from feminist groups who claim to care about women’s rights? Where was the outcry from the all the self-described progressives and peace activists? Do women’s lives mean so little to them?

About the Author
Stephen M. Flatow is president of the Religious Zionists of America- Mizrachi (not affiliated with any Israeli or American political party) and the father of Alisa Flatow who was murdered by Iranian sponsored Palestinian terrorists in April 1995. He is the author of "A Father's Story: My Fight For Justice Against Iranian Terror."
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