The Hamas government of the Gaza Strip recently took a step in overhauling its global image by appointing, for the first time ever, a spokeswoman.
Isra Almodallal, the 23-year-old woman who will represent the Gaza Strip's conservative Islamist rulers to the rest of the world, represents a dramatic change for Hamas, which has, along with its strident opposition to Israel, often voiced a very conservative view of Islam that puts severe restriction on women's behavior. Her appointment comes as the latest in a series of changes instituted by the government's new head of media, Ihab Ghussein, who, according to CBS, has been trying to put a younger, tech-savvier face on Hamas since assuming his post six months ago.
To that end, he's hired younger media staffers, started a new official government website, and hired Almodallal, insisting, "Women are partners in our society." He's also said that Almodallal, who speaks fluent, British-accented English thanks to some teenage years spent in the UK, was one of several young women who applied for the job of improving Hamas's image in the West.
Image via AP, Adel Hana