From TNetnews: Doctor, lawyer and pilot urges Druze girls to 'be strong'
"I used to have a lot
more time and energy to fly, but since I work in six places, I'm very
stressed and fly less," says Dr. Anan Falah, a self-described
Arab-Druze-Israeli woman who also happens to be a dentist and a lawyer
as well as a pilot.
Falah, who lives in Akko,
says it wasn't easy to convince those around her about her
professional path. "I barely persuaded them to let me study (dentistry).
Because of the limitations on Druze
women at the time, it was hard for them to accept the idea. My father
was worried about me, but now he's full of praise," she explains, noting
that her mother had always been supportive.
"I became the first female Druze dentist," Falah notes. Today, she serves as the Health Ministry
supervisor for a dentistry clinic in the Arab sector.
'When I fly, everything is more beautiful' (Photo: Avishag Shaar-Yashuv)
Falah's father was born in the village of Samia and her mother in
Ramah. When they married, they moved to Akko, where Falah and her six
siblings were born. They are the only Druze family in the city, Falah
Falah, who married in the 1990s, has a 16-year-old son.
On the way to her prestigious profession, the prejudice and
oppression Falah encountered prompted her to take unconventional steps.
"Our society is considered chauvinist, but as a woman I believe in
That's a difficult word to accept, but you need to insist on it," she
explains. "It's not easy to move ahead in life and break a new path in a
society that believes that a woman's role is to have babies, raise
children, and stay in the kitchen. But today, women are much more than
When the head of the Druze community published a ban on woman
driving, Falah decided that if she couldn't drive on the ground – she'd
take to the skies. She earned her pilot's license in 2001. "I've been to
Beersheba, Rosh Pina, and Cyprus," she says, adding that when she
flies, she feels "freer, like I don't have to fight for everything.
Everything looks more beautiful, quiet, and fun."
What's funny, she says, is that Druze law gives men and woman
equality in matters of inheritance, rights, and obligations. A woman can
appeal to the Druze court – the equivalent of a rabbinical court
– and ask to divorce her husband without his consent. "But what the
religion says isn't reflected in the culture and traditions," she
But Falah is still looking ahead. A qualified lawyer, she dreams of
becoming a judge in the Druze court, which she says is currently run
entirely by men. "Druze woman were almost without rights, but slowly
they are getting them – we still have to fight the sheikhs," she says.
And things are changing – today, according to Falah, more Druze women
go on to higher education than men, and "modern girls learn not only
how to drive but also how to cut loose."
When asked the questions everyone asks successful women about work
and family life, she answers: "I try to spend two hours a day with my
son, and then go to the clinic or to another job. I see my parents once a
week and we always go places together."
She says that she's less social than in the past, since "everything comes at the expense of my personal time."
Nevertheless, Falah tries to keep her drive to move ahead: "I don't
look at jealousy. I move on with positive energy. I don't care what
In addition to her other
occupations, Falah also serves as a judge in beauty pageants, and sees
no contradiction between these events and feminism. "The idea is that a
woman can express herself in whatever place she's interested in doing
so," she observes. Still, when judging she tries to take into account
the contestants' character as well as their looks.