Region | Palestinian Territories

Israeli guards seize trophy of little girl

Dania won international competition in Malaysia

  • By Nasouh Nazzal, Correspondent
  • Published: 16:03 January 1, 2013
  • Gulf News

  • Image Credit: Nasouh Nazzal/Gulf News
  • Dania Al Ja’abari with her trophy that had been seized by the Israelis on the Allenby Bridge that separates the West Bank from Jordan.

Ramallah: As she travelled home from her triumph, Israeli border guards have seized the trophy of a Palestinian school girl who won an international competition in Malaysia.

Eleven years old Dania Husni Al Ja’abari was stopped by the Israeli intelligence on the Allenby Bridge (which separates the West Bank from Jordan) and questioned for more than five hours.

As a result, Dania, her accompanying family members and her trainer missed the central celebration organized in Ramallah to mark the girl’s prestigious victory in an international competition.

Dania, from the city of Hebron, has shown recognized mental capabilities which enable her to solve multiple and complicated mathematical questions. Dania came second in the Intelligent Mental-Arithmetic Competition 2012 and was rewarded with a trophy and handed an appreciation letter.

“It was a horrible experience to spend about five hours in interviews with Israeli intelligence officers,” she said commenting on her first international participation.

“Those extended interviews have delayed our arrival to the central celebrations organized to mark my victory,” she told Gulf News.

“The Israelis prevented me from crossing the Allenby Bridge holding my trophy in hand, which is the symbol to my victory. The Israelis denied me and family joy and happiness,” she said. Israeli soldiers said that the trophy was made of steel and could not pass through without tests.

The Palestinian Department of Borders and Crossings in Jericho was notified of the Israeli seizure of the trophy. The Palestinian officials of the department referred to their Israeli counterparts who handed the trophy to the Palestinian side few days later and Dania’s family was contacted to approach Jericho and receive the trophy.

“It was still a happy but incomplete moment to recover my lost trophy,” said Dania, who insists in participating in the competition once again in two years to attempt to reach first place - which was won by a Palestinian girl Areej Al Madhoun, from the Gaza Strip.

Husni Al Ja’abari, Dania’s father said his girl is special in solving complicated mathematical questions in a short time. “Dania is gifted with a special ability to solve complex mathematical problems and this ability became clear when the girl was in the kindergarten,” he told Gulf News.

Dania has participated in many local mathematical and chess competitions where she has repeatedly won first place.

In the Malaysia competition, Dania was able to solve 157 complicated mathematical questions in eight minutes.

Danai was one of the 22 Palestinian school students, 12 from the West Bank and 10 from the Gaza Strip, who took part in the international mental and mathematical competition in Malaysia.

“Danai will receive better training during the coming couple of years. I am sure Dania will score the first place in the competition,” said Dr. Ammar Al Zaatari, Dania’s trainer. He said that Dania’s abilities will improve even more as the girl can solve mathematical questions faster than the calculator.

He said that despite the fact that Danai is still in grade five, she has a unique ability to handle complex mathematics and that she is known for this ability all over Hebron.

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