Lila Ranam, the district governor of Ramallah, is a busy woman.
She regularly visits medical staff in the West Bank city, checks in with police officers stationed at the many roadblocks, meets with local authorities, strives to keep up morale and is responsible for deciding which areas should be isolated due to a possible outbreak of coronavirus.
And due to her tireless efforts and accomplishments as a governor during the health crisis, Ranam has earned the moniker “the Palestinian Ironwoman” and is hailed as the undisputed hero of the Palestinian Authority.
At just 45, Ranam is not only one of the youngest governors but is also the first and only woman to be assigned to one of the most illustrious positions in the Palestinian Authority.
Each governor is elected and personally appointed by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. They are considered to be highly skilled and often possessing excellent organizational capabilities. Many come to their position after retiring from the Palestinian Security Forces at a rank equivalent to a military major-general.
Ranam, however, does not hail from a security background; in fact, she has a doctorate in education. But for the past 10 years, she has held the post of governor in the district that is considered the capital of Palestinian business and politics.
While Ranam has distinguished herself over the last decade, her humanitarian efforts and professionalism during the coronavirus crisis have led to her becoming the object of admiration among many West Bank residents.
For example, it was Ranam's idea to mount an ATM on a vehicle that went to the homes of PA employees, allowing them to withdraw their monthly paycheck without violating the quarantine.
That idea was received extremely well and adopted by governors in other districts of the Palestinian Authority.
"I am always present on the street and attentive to the needs of people,” says Ranam of her efforts during the pandemic.
"I will continue to do so until we win this campaign," she says. "We public officials are all soldiers in the service of the people. We work around the clock to monitor the situation. I have an entire team and an emergency committee that meets on a daily basis to respond to any developments."
When it comes to her new popularity, Ranam says politics is not as important to her as the lives of the people.
“I always say, this is not election time. I may have lost some popularity, but what concerns me is ensuring the safety of citizens. "
She calls the roadblock erected by the Palestinian Security Forces “blockades of love” as they protect the public's health and says that despite the situation, she has decided to adopt a positive attitude to make the lives of Ramallah residents a little easier.
“I always think about how best to provide people with a life of dignity, especially the weaker groups in society like the elderly, families in need, and families of prisoners who have sacrificed their beloved for the homeland."
First published: 16:46 , 04.18.20