Young and British-Educated, Isra Al-Modallal Is New Public Face of Hamas

Voice of Gaza Islamists Speaks With Yorkshire Accent

Voice of Gaza: Isra Al-Modallal is the new public face of Hamas. The attractive young woman speaks with a British accent, the product of her English education
getty images
Voice of Gaza: Isra Al-Modallal is the new public face of Hamas. The attractive young woman speaks with a British accent, the product of her English education

By Reuters

Published November 11, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share

The Islamist Hamas group, long shunned by the West and increasingly isolated in the Middle East, has appointed its first spokeswoman, a 23-year-old who used to live in Britain and speaks with a Yorkshire accent.

Isra Al-Modallal’s job is to convey the views of the Hamas government that controls Gaza to the foreign media.

She is not a member of the Islamist group. She wears a traditional headscarf along with a touch of makeup, listens to non-Islamic music and will on occasion shake hands with members of the opposite sex, behaviour usually frowned on by Hamas.

Modallal, who was born in Egypt but has Palestinian nationality and lives in Rafah refugee camp in southern Gaza, took up her post earlier this month.

She said she planned eventually to return to Britain, where she lived for three years in the northern city of Bradford with her brother, a British national.

“It is a period of my life … then I am going to complete my (law) study … in Bradford or Scotland or London University,” Modallal told Reuters.

Ehab al-Ghsain, chief spokesman for the Hamas government in Gaza, said he hoped Modallal would develop a good working relationship with Western media.

Modallal said however she would not take calls from Israeli journalists.

Hamas, which has controlled the Gaza Strip since a brief Palestinian civil war in 2007, has spurned Western demands to recognise Israel and renounce violence. It is considered a terrorist group by the United States and the European Union.

The Sunni Islamist group has also angered its main regional supporter, Shi’ite Iran, by its criticism of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in his country’s civil war.

Hamas’s relations with Egypt, Gaza’s neighbour, have also worsened since the Egyptian military ousted Islamist President Mohamed Mursi following protests against his rule.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Can you relate?
  • The Forverts' "Bintel Brief" advice column ran for more than 65 years. Now it's getting a second life — as a cartoon.
  • Half of this Hillel's members believe Jesus was the Messiah.
  • Vinyl isn't just for hipsters and hippies. Israeli photographer Eilan Paz documents the most astonishing record collections from around the world:http://jd.fo/g3IyM
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • "It’s the smell that hits me first — musty, almost sweet, emanating from the green felt that cradles each piece of silver cutlery in its own place." Only one week left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • Mazel tov to Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky!
  • If it's true, it's pretty terrifying news.
  • “My mom went to cook at the White House and all I got was this tiny piece of leftover raspberry ganache."
  • Planning on catching "Fading Gigolo" this weekend? Read our review.
  • A new initiative will spend $300 million a year towards strengthening Israel's relationship with the Diaspora. http://jd.fo/q3Iaj Is this money spent wisely?
  • Lusia Horowitz left pre-state Israel to fight fascism in Spain — and wound up being captured by the Nazis and sent to die at Auschwitz. Share her remarkable story — told in her letters.
  • Vered Guttman doesn't usually get nervous about cooking for 20 people, even for Passover. But last night was a bit different. She was cooking for the Obamas at the White House Seder.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.