TEL AVIV – The Arab Twittersphere has been circulating images of “lucky” Palestinian teenager Ahed Tamimi upon her release from an Israeli prison and noting that she is more “beautiful than when she went in,” showing no signs of mistreatment and has even gained a considerable amount of weight, while imprisoned Arab women in next door Syria are tortured, raped and starved.
Tamimi on her Sunday release appeared “full of health and without a scratch … while thousands of Palestinians are killed in prisons of the Assad regime,” Syrian activist and photographer Yasser Wardh observed, referring to the thousands of Palestinian refugees living in Syria.
Nedal al-Amari, a journalist from the Deraa region of Syria, tweeted: “The difference between Israel and Bashar Assad. Ahed Tamimi lucky girl because it was in Israel’s prisons, not Assad’s prisons.”
His tweet was accompanied by a split-screen showing on one side the dead body of a Syrian woman flanked by the corpses of starved naked bodies while on the other side a smiling, fuller-faced Tamimi on her release from an Israeli jail.
Al-Amari also noted wryly that Tamimi’s father is a supporter of the Assad regime.
Tamimi was jailed for seven months along with her mother for slapping Israeli soldiers in an incident captured on video.
Footage of the episode quickly went viral and Tamimi, 17, has since become an icon of Palestinian resistance.
A plethora of Arabic-language tweets mentioned her alleged “9 kilos” weight gain during her time in prison.
“She was not tortured. She was not raped. Her weight increased by nearly 9 kilos. Her hair and face are more beautiful,” Mahdi Majeed tweeted.
(Warning: Graphic images below)
The difference between Israel and Bashar AlAssad#AhedTamimi lucky girl Because it was in Israel's prison not Assad’s prison
ahed Tamimi came out of prison in good health, better than before.
Notice : The father of ahed Tamimi supports Assad's regime pic.twitter.com/nkd6T4mhRY
— Nedal Alamari (@nedalalamari) July 29, 2018
Another quipped: “If people in Deraa and the south were detained by the Zionist occupation and they come out 9 kilos more, instead of arrested by the Assad occupation every day a list of the souls of the martyrs, more than 3,000 now.”
Dr. Edy Cohen of Bar-Ilan University, an expert in inter-Arab relations, sparked a debate about why the media was so obsessed with Tamimi rather than women suffering torture and abuse in other countries in the region.
“I wish Arab countries to release their detainees and see their situation reach the health of Tamimi,” Cohen wrote in Arabic on his Facebook page.
Photographer Nadine Nashaf, however, said drawing parallels between Tamimi and Syrian women was “disgusting.”
“No matter the situation, girls and women are objects to be sized up, measured and insulted if they do not conform to men,” the Jerusalem Post quoted Nashaf as saying.
Last month Breitbart Jerusalem reported Jordanian journalist Yousef Alawnah’s account of Israeli prisons, in which he served a 30 month sentence for smuggling explosives. Alawnah told Saudi TV that he was “ashamed” of the differences between Arab and Israeli prisons, with the latter being like an “institute of education.”
Israeli prisoners are given “an opportunity to acquire culture, to read and to study many things,” he said.
“They have all the important books, history books, books against Israel and against Zionism. … Even Hitler’s Mein Kampf is there,” he said.
“The prisoners held in the dungeons of the Syrian regime … do you think that they have books?” Alawnah asked.