JAFFA, Israel – Driving schools in Gaza have complained after Hamas authorities imposed a new regulation whereby female students will have to be accompanied by a “lawful” male companion.
Jaber Radwan, chairman of the driving schools’ association in the Strip, said that the guidelines set out by Hamas police state that female students must be accompanied by a close male relative. Although the regulations are nonbinding, Radwan says the new regulations are unwarranted because all driving instructors must undergo criminal record checks.
“Therefore, it is absolutely fine that some of the lessons take place in sparsely populated areas,” he said.
Samir Zakut, a human rights activist, called on instructors to defy the “unlawful” instruction and petition the court of appeals.
Khalil Elzaban, director of driving instruction at the Ministry of Transport, said that authorities had bowed to an influx of public requests.
“We received many requests and decided to change the policy,” he said. “Gaza, after all, is a traditional place.”
Unlike the Ministry of Transport, Gaza police spokesperson Ayman Elbatanji said that no such regulation has been introduced.
“There are instructions on immoral behavior, certainly, which we follow up on, but no official decision has been made,” he said.