Young Arabs strongly favor women driving — but Saudis say more should be done on female empowerment

Arab youth is overwhelmingly supportive of the Saudi Arabian government’s decision to allow women to drive. (Shutterstock)
Updated 09 May 2018
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Young Arabs strongly favor women driving — but Saudis say more should be done on female empowerment

  • The belief that female empowerment needs to be taken further was especially strong among Saudi men
  • Safety, security and wider career opportunities were seen as the UAE’s most attractive qualities

DUBAI: Arab youth is overwhelmingly supportive of the Saudi Arabian government’s decision to allow women to drive, according to the Arab Youth Survey.
Some 88 percent of all respondents agreed with the decision, which comes into force next month, with 90 percent of women and 85 percent of men in favor of the historic policy change.
However, a strong majority of young people — 80 percent — also agreed with the proposition that “Arab leaders should do more to improve the personal rights and freedoms of women.”
The belief that female empowerment needs to be taken further was especially strong among Saudi men, of whom 90 percent supported the call for more reforms to allow greater participation by women in economic, social and cultural life.
The survey also showed that the UAE remains the top role model for young Arabs, and the most popular country to live in, for the seventh year running. Some 35 percent chose the UAE, followed by the US and Canada on 18 percent.
Safety, security and wider career opportunities were seen as the UAE’s most attractive qualities.
Facebook was the most widely accessed medium for news, with 49 percent saying they get their news on the social media site daily, up from 35 percent last year.
CNN was the most trusted TV channel in the region, with 75 percent of respondents approving its credibility. Al Jazeera was the least trusted, with 43 percent calling it untrustworthy.
Technology was the sector most young Arabs would like to work or set up a business. Some 28 percent want to be involved in high-tech, nearly twice as many as in retail and real estate, previous favorites.
More than half of all respondent across the region said they shop online, but nearly 70 percent of respondents in North Africa say they have never shopped online.


Israel cuts Gaza fishing limit after fire balloons

Updated 23 May 2019
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Israel cuts Gaza fishing limit after fire balloons

  • Israel reduced the fishing limit to 10 nautical miles
  • The countries agreed to 20 nautical miles in the Oslo accords of 1990s

JERUSALEM: Israel reduced the offshore fishing limits it imposes for vessels operating out of Gaza from Thursday after Palestinians floated balloons fitted with incendiaries over the border, officials said.
The cut came just two days after Israel restored the limits to those set in April ahead of an Israeli general election.
“A decision was taken this Wednesday evening to reduce the fishing zone off the Gaza Strip to 10 nautical miles until further notice,” said COGAT, the defense ministry unit that oversees such regulations.
“The decision was taken after the launch of incendiary balloons from Gaza toward Israel,” it added.
Palestinians in Gaza have frequently floated balloons fitted with firebombs over the border to damage Israeli property and have in the past succeeded in setting fire to large areas of farmland.
Israel banned fishing completely when two days of deadly violence erupted earlier this month, but lifted the ban with a restriction of up to 12 nautical miles following a truce.
The 15-nautical-mile limit that had been restored on Tuesday was the largest allowed in years by Israel, which has fought three wars with Palestinian militants in the enclave and has blockaded it for more than a decade.
But human rights activists note that it still falls short of the 20 nautical miles agreed under the Oslo accords of the 1990s.
Israeli authorities have not said whether the 15-mile limit was one of the understandings reached as part of the May 6 cease-fire in Gaza but Israel media reported on Monday that it was.
The additional nautical miles are important to Gaza fishermen as they bring more valuable, deeper water species within reach.
Four Israeli civilians and 25 Palestinians, including at least nine militants, were killed in this month’s exchanges across the border.