Israeli-Druze grandma entrepreneur becomes a star at Spanish festival

Jamila Hir, known as "Grandma Jamila." Credit: Noa Cafri via Wikimedia Commons.

An Israeli-Druze grandmother entrepreneur has become a star in Spain after representing Israel at the prestigious annual Festival of Women in the city of Segovia.

Jamila Hir, 76, from the Druze village of Peki'in—who has become known as "Grandma Jamila"—participated in the festival after arrangements were made by the Israeli government's cultural attaché in Spain, Hagit Mualem.

There, Grandma Jamila impressed the Spaniards with her business of natural soaps made from olive oil and medical herbs. The soaps have become popular for their medicinal properties. Nir is also the first Druze woman to build her own factory, where she employs hundreds of Jewish, Christian, Muslim, and Druze workers. Her business brings in $50 million in profits and exports to 40 countries, according to Yedioth Ahronoth.

Hir, a widow, is also mother to five children, grandmother to 15, and great-grandmother to five. At the festival, she discussed with pride how Jewish, Muslim, Christian, and Druze women can coexist in Israel. "They all work together under the same slogan---only women can give birth to peace," Hir said.

"It was important for us to show the diversity and complexity of Israeli society. There are many faces and colors of Israel that Europe does not know. Spanish media simply loved grandma Jamila. She had an amazing performance here,” Mualem said.

Posted on March 28, 2016 .