The man then has 48 hours to propose, something still typically done over the traditional coffee at her home.Kholoud Sobouh, 27, said she got tired of being shown to men who knocked on her door with their mothers to propose.“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.He was looking for a woman with particular attributes, hopefully a widow of a man killed in the struggle against Israel, without children, between 25 and 30, from southern Gaza. “She is beautiful and a widow of a martyr at the same time,” says Abu Mustafa, using the word preferred by Palestinians for a killed fighter, often a terrorist to Israelis. “When I get wealthy, I will marry the third wife.” The couple met on Wesal – it means communion or reunion in Arabic – a first-of-its-kind matchmaking website in Gaza. For Majdi and Ghada Abu Mustafa, their simultaneous search for a spouse turned out well, and the pair are now married.
With the Wesal service, a prospective groom receives a woman’s address when the two have exchanged “likes” online.
Wesal not only facilitates marriages for widows, but also for the divorced and those who have never married.
Part of Wesal’s immediate success appears to be how closely it hews to Gazan tradition, despite the digital medium.
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.