Some 1,400 men have been killed in the three wars with Israel since 2008, leaving many widows who would like to remarry.
Tradition, however, can make it difficult for them to wed single men.
Her fiancé, Tareq – Sobouh did not want to give his surname, for fear of being criticised for meeting her spouse online – said he wanted a tall, light-skinned woman with religious manners. “Wesal service is the best discovery of my life,” says Sobouh.
“I am the one who will get married, not my family or the society.” In some cases, Wesal’s founder acts something like a traditional khattaba.
When completing an application, people must address several questions important to those looking for a spouse here: place of residence, occupation, salary, marital status, number of children.
And there are some traditional terms users must accept: “I swear by Allah the Great that all my information is accurate, and that I won’t use this website for entertainment.” What Wesal does not have is profile photos or any online chatting functionality, to protect the privacy of women and because both would be considered “haram,” or forbidden under Islamic law, Sheikha said.
“This matchmaking service is positive because it encourages these women to choose the potential husband without fear and pressure in this religious and patriarchal society,” says Owda.“I said yes because I wanted a man who is not jobless, who has a good life and works on his future.” Sheikha, Wesal’s founder, says he wants the site to challenge longstanding customs surrounding matchmaking in Gaza, and to give women more agency in the process.“Our website encourages them to search for husbands by themselves, to truly choose and say what they like in the man,” he says.Hamas itself has been trying to encourage marriage by paying the equivalent of £1,200 to any male who memorises the Quran, a bit of cash to help finance the next step in life.inspects the prospective bride: body shape, skin colour, teeth, hair and other physical features.“Polygamy has hit high rates in Gaza over the few past years, seemingly due to an increase in people’s religious inclination, especially after Hamas took power in 2007,” says Seyam, referring to the militant group that rules over Gaza.