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Shaming Arab Women to be Martyrs

Shaming Arab Women to be Martyrs

Where is the feminist outcry?

by and

The recently appointed head of Israel's Shin Bet internal security agency gave his first presentation on Tuesday to the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee of the Knesset. As part of his overview of the country's current situation, Nadav Argaman addressed the role of Arab women in the terror wave against Israelis that began last September.

More specifically, he talked about the way in which Palestinian girls and women are being forced by the norms of their society to become cannon fodder in the "lone-wolf intifada," characterized by stabbings, car-rammings, Molotov cocktail-hurling, pipe-bombing and rock-throwing.

According to Argaman, so far more than 40 girls and women have been wounded, killed or arrested for committing – or attempting to commit – terrorist attacks against Israeli soldiers and civilians. These acts are both homicidal and suicidal in nature: geared toward murder, on the one hand, but usually involve or result in self-sacrifice. Indeed, a teenage girl who runs up to a group of IDF soldiers while flailing a knife and shouting "Allahu akbar" knows she is not long for this world. Even those who go after unarmed passersby are aware that they are likely to be shot in the process.

The Shin Bet chief explained that in the vast majority of such cases, the girls or women had more pressing things on their minds than the politics of resistance that their leaders declare will bring about the elimination of the Jewish state, and that their imams say is a Muslim duty.

In fact, Argaman pointed out, most of these women had "shamed" their families in some way – through what is considered to constitute sexual misconduct. This could include anything from flirting with the wrong boy – a Christian, perhaps – to engaging in actual or perceived adultery.

These women know that what awaits them is a painful, humiliating and often slow death at the hands of one or more male relatives – fathers, brothers, uncles, cousins – with no intervention on the part of their mothers or the Palestinian police.

Yes, honor killing is alive and well in the Palestinian Authority, whose leaders traipse around the United Nations in Armani suits to bemoan Israeli injustices.

To "launder" their inevitable end, many Palestinian girls opt to go out with a literal bang and become "martyrs." Some, Argaman said, are encouraged to do so – even driven to the site of the terrorist attacks they are told to commit – by their parents. If the girls are put to death for dishonoring their families, the stain remains. If, on the other hand, they are killed in the process of maiming Jews, their parents are guaranteed adulation and a hefty monthly stipend from the coffers of the PA, filled regularly by the United States and Europe. You know, places where women are still yammering about glass ceilings at corporations and harassment by drunken boys on campus.

On the very day that Argaman gave his talk, and at the same location, female IDF soldiers were being saluted for their dedicated service through a series of events held in their honor. The main ceremony, called "Women of Valor," included speeches by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein and Supreme Court President Miriam Naor.

"The history of the Jewish people is full of female role models like yourselves," Netanyahu said, lauding the women soldiers and police officers who have risked, and sometimes lost, their lives confronting Palestinian terrorists. "I am thrilled to see the professionalism, determination and ability of female soldiers in the air, land and sea and in every part of the IDF."

As talk of renewing the "peace process" between Israel and the PA is back in the headlines, it is imperative to remember that there is a war going on. And, as George Orwell wrote in 1943, "There is hardly such a thing as a war in which it makes no difference who wins. Nearly always one side stands more or less for progress, the other side more or less for reaction."

There is no greater tool by which to measure which side in this case stands for progress: the one that honors its women, not slaughters them for dishonoring their men. Yet where is the outcry from Western feminists? Directed at Israel, of course.

July 16, 2016

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The opinions expressed in the comment section are the personal views of the commenters. Comments are moderated, so please keep it civil.

Visitor Comments: 12

(10) Keren Aleeza, January 18, 2017 1:13 PM

Feminists HAVE been denouncing this

I first read about this in 2002 after a divorced Palestinian woman who couldn't have children committed a suicide attack, with many follow-ups of other women suicide bombers who had talked to men or flirted. This was in the feminist press, including, if memory serves, Ms. Magazine, although the New York Times may have brought up the issue obliquely. No need for lashon hara against women who stand up for women.

(9) Anonymous, July 26, 2016 3:44 PM

please don't divert from the content of the article

ok, i acknowledge that 'yammering' was a poor choice of words. That said, I ask people not to divert from the author's points. One can oppose glass ceilings and harassment; all the more so, one must oppose practices that shame women to the point that they commit suicide by terrorist act. I am a feminist, a humanist, and a lover of G-d and Torah; these things go well together. There is no need to be divisive, or to divert from the author's underlying message. thank you.

(8) Nancy, July 25, 2016 12:07 AM

To the authors of this article

You owe us an apology for your dismissive tone about harassment and the glass ceiling. I am truly saddened and dismayed by the disrespect shown to women everywhere.

(7) Yocheved, July 24, 2016 2:41 PM

Yammering?! Did you really write that?

" You know, places where women are still yammering about glass ceilings at corporations and harassment by drunken boys on campus." Are you suggesting rape, harassment, and discrimination against women, Jewish or not, is acceptable because Palestinian behavior is abominable? That is setting the bar incredibly low. This is a slap in the face to women who want to be taken seriously at work and to study in safety. As the mother of two girls who are about to leave home for college, I would hope Jewish families are raising our sons better than this. Your disrespectful choice of language in a throwaway snarky comment undermines the strength and validity of what you are trying to say.

Nancy, July 25, 2016 12:04 AM

To commenter #7 Yocheved

Even though this article is ostensibly about feminism, I honestly don't believe the authors know the definition of the word. If they did, then they would not be so snarky. I now open the floor to the authors of this article as well as other commenters. Do ANY of you know the actual meaning of the words feminist and/or feminism?

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