Women rally drivers of the West Bank
Photographs: Tanya Habjouqa
As a rally-driving team consisting solely of women members, the Palestinian Speed Sisters naturally attract a great deal of attention – not merely in the West Bank, but across the entire region. But when they take to the track and to the stage in front of hoards of cheering, speed-hungry and at rimes patriotic men and women, the only issue for these rally drivers is speed.
The Speed Sisters have taken part in rallies in Jericho, Hebron, Jenin, Bethlehem and Ramallah, and between races they tackle the challenge of finding their own training facilities – something that is in particular short supply in the Palestinian territories.
One of their favourite training areas is an area behind one of the largest Israeli prisons in the West Bank, Ofer Prison. Other opportunities become available on Friday afternoons at empty marketplaces, where the drivers mark off their training area with cones.
These need-for-speed women come from vastly differing backgrounds, both in social terms and with regard to wealth: one comes from a well-to-do family, another comes from a refugee camp – all though are united in dealing with friends and family, not all of whom approve of their sport. All of them work intensively to secure sponsors for something that, despite a growing acceptance and widespread knowledge, remains something of a niche-sport.