Photo Credit: Stephen M. Flatow
Stephen M. Flatow

Fans of the late Yasir Arafat are operating a Facebook page called “Yasir’s Girls” (Mitqy Bnat Al-Yasr, in Arabic). Its goal is to make Palestinian girls feel proud of the heroines of Palestinian history.

Among those prominently featured in the pantheon of Palestinian female role models is the late Dalal Mughrabi. The “Yasir’s Girls” Facebook page displays a full-color montage of Mughrabi and Arafat, flanking the Jerusalem skyline.


For those who do not recognize the name Mughrabi, and may wonder why it is that Palestinian advocates want girls to admire her, here’s a brief recap.

On March 9, 1978, Ms. Mughrabi – just 19 years old at the time – led a squad of 13 Fatah terrorists who landed in several small boats on Israel’s shore. Another young woman was on the beachfront that morning. Gail Rubin, an American Jewish nature photographer, was taking photos of rare birds near the water. Gail’s work had been exhibited at the Jewish Museum in New York City and other major venues.

One of the terrorists, Hussain Fayadh, later described to a 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 lay dying on the beach, Mughrabi and her fellow-terrorists walked to the nearby Coastal Road. An Israeli bus approached. They hijacked it. During the ensuing mayhem, they murdered 36 passengers, 12 of them children. Mughrabi was killed by Israeli troops. Fayadh survived, was sentenced to life in jail, but then released in a prisoner exchange – and was later hired as a senior adviser to Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas.

In the 39 years since the Mughrabi Massacre, the Palestinian leadership has never missed an opportunity to glorify her and hold her up as a role model for Palestinian girls. Every year on Mughrabi’s birthday and on the anniversary of the slaughter, Palestinian Authority leaders and the PA-controlled media celebrate the life and deeds of their heroine.

In fact, one of the first major controversies following the Oslo accords was Arafat’s infamous “Abir and Dalal” speech. The date was September 3, 1995, and Arafat was speaking at the Fatah Girls School in Gaza, at the start of the school year. And what better what to kick off the new school year than to remind the girls of some women terrorists whom they should admire?

Here is what Arafat was saying to those Palestinian girls at the very moment the State Department and Peace Now were hailing him as a moderate peace-seeker:

“We are proud of the Palestinian girl, the Palestinian woman [who] participated in the Palestinian revolution,” Arafat declared. “Abir al-Wahidi, commander of the central region [she murdered an Israeli civilian named Avi Klein in 1991] and Dalal al-Mughrabi, Martyr of Palestine. I bow in respect and admiration to the Palestinian woman who receives her martyred son with joyful cheering. The soul and blood for you, O Palestine!”

Gail Rubin happened to be a niece of U.S. Senator Abraham Ribicoff, Democrat of Connecticut. Being the niece of a famous person is, in itself, a distinction that ordinarily would not be relevant. I mention it only because of the irony: her uncle served for two decades in the same Senate that in recent years has been sending $500 million annually to a Palestinian Authority regime that names streets and parks after Dalal Mughrabi. (And as we now know, Barack Obama sweetened that pot by quietly sending another $221 million to the PA during his last minutes in office.)

One can only hope that pro-Israel advocates in Washington will be able to persuade the Trump administration that giving American money to those who glorify the killers of American citizens is not a wise policy.

But that is for Jewish organizations and lobbyists to worry about. In the meantime, there is something that young Jewish girls everywhere can do about this outrage, right now. The most powerful rebuke to the “Yasir’s Girls” Facebook page would be the creation of a “Gail’s Girls” Facebook page – a forum where girls can learn about young women who genuinely deserve to be regarded as role models. Women like Gail Rubin, not Dalal Mughrabi.