Emily Harris

International Correspondent Emily Harris is based in Jerusalem as part of NPR's Mideast team. Her post covers news related to Israel, the West Bank and Gaza Strip. She began this role in March of 2013.

Over her career, Harris has served in multiple roles within public media. She first joined NPR in 2000, as a general assignment reporter. A prolific reporter often filing two stories a day, Harris covered major stories including 9/11 and its aftermath, including the impact on the airline industry; and the anthrax attacks. She also covered how policies set in Washington are implemented across the country.

In 2002, Harris worked as a Special Correspondent on NOW with Bill Moyer, focusing on investigative storytelling. In 2003 Harris became NPR's Berlin Correspondent, covering Central and Eastern Europe. In that role, she reported regularly from Iraq, leading her to be a key member of the NPR team awarded a 2005 Peabody Award for coverage of the region.

Harris left NPR in December 2007 to become a host for a live daily program, Think Out Loud, on Oregon Public Broadcasting. Under her leadership Harris's team received three back to back Gracie Awards for Outstanding Talk Show, and a share in OPB's 2009 Peabody Award for the series "Hard Times." Harris's other awards include the RIAS Berlin Commission's first-place radio award in 2007 and second-place in 2006. She was a John S. Knight fellow at Stanford University in 2005-2006.

A seasoned reporter, she was asked to help train young journalist through NPR's "Next Generation" program. She also served as editorial director for Journalism Accelerator, a project to bring journalists together to share ideas and experiences; and was a writer-in-residence teaching radio writing to high school students.

One of the aspects of her work that most intrigues her is why people change their minds and what inspires them to do so.

Outside of work, Harris has drafted a screenplay about the Iraq war and for another project is collecting stories about the most difficult parts of parenting.

She has a B.A. in Russian Studies from Yale University.

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5:06pm

Fri April 24, 2015
Parallels

Clearing The Tangled Path For Land Ownership In The West Bank

Originally published on Fri April 24, 2015 6:55 pm

One of the first homes going up on land bought and sold as part of a Canadian-Palestinian investment firm's effort to properly register plots. Much land in the West Bank is not registered and has no title deed, creating problems for economic development.
Emily Harris NPR

High on a West Bank hilltop, the extended Dissi family gathered on a recent weekend for a day out in the Palestinian countryside.

Aunts, uncles and cousins came to see the half-built weekend home of Taysier Dissi, an electrician and father of three. The concrete-block shell, with windows set and stairs roughed in, is placed just right for the view.

This will be the family's getaway from their home in the cramped confines of Jerusalem's often tense Old City. Dissi paid about $30,000 for one-third of an acre here, bought from a Palestinian-Canadian company, UCI.

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10:48am

Mon April 13, 2015
Goats and Soda

And The Fate Of The Hermaphrodite Goat Is...

Originally published on Mon April 13, 2015 3:23 pm

In Gaza, all hermaphroditic goats will go to heaven. On Sunday, authorities ordered the slaughter of this animal — which had male sex organs and udders — lest people mistakenly believe that its milk had special powers. And if another hermaphrodite goat turns up, it too will face the knife.
Emily Harris/NPR

The male milk-giving goat of Gaza has been turned into meat.

Owner Jaser Abu Said sold the goat for the 400 Jordanian dinars (close to $600) that he and his business partner spent on it. He found a buyer willing to slaughter the goat for meat. And he stuck around to witness the goat's demise personally, along with representatives from the Gaza government.

Why government officials at a goat slaughtering — which happens pretty frequently in Gaza?

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7:25am

Sun April 12, 2015
Parallels

With Few Choices, Gaza Family Makes Bombed-Out Shell Its Home

Originally published on Sun April 12, 2015 6:18 pm

The ground floor walls of the Otaish family's home are gone and the rest of the house is also bombed out, but they have decided to live in what's left of it.
Emily Harris NPR

In Gaza, reconstruction is happening, but slowly. Months after the war between Israel and Hamas, the main United Nations organization tracking progress, UNRWA, says fewer than half the homes it has assessed as "damaged" have been repaired, and not one of the over 9,000 totally destroyed homes has been rebuilt.

Facing few choices, some families have decided to live in what's left of their bombed out homes.

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3:05pm

Fri April 10, 2015
Goats and Soda

A Hermaphrodite Goat Could Be The Ultimate Scapegoat

Originally published on Mon April 13, 2015 9:23 am

The owners of this Gaza goat say it is a hermaphrodite: male private parts and an udder.
Emily Harris/NPR

The goat trade is a good business in Gaza. Every couple of weeks, Abdel Rahman and his business partner, Jaser Abu Said, buy half a dozen young goats imported from Israel and sell them for meat.

Last time, they got something unusual. Of the five goats they bought, for about $600 each, one was a hermaphrodite.

By all appearances, it was male, with a large build and visible male sex organs. But it also had udders. And gave milk.

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7:39am

Sat March 28, 2015
The Salt

Making Cheese In The Land Of The Bible: Add Myrrh And A Leap Of Faith

Originally published on Sat March 28, 2015 10:56 am

A Palestinian Bedouin girl milks a sheep in her family's makeshift camp in the West Bank. Herders live close to their animals, their main source of income.
Emily Harris NPR

In spring, West Bank almond trees bloom white. Dry brown hills turn temporarily green and are dotted with bright wildflowers. The ewes and nanny goats of Bedouin herders that wander the West Bank eat well this time of year.

It's cheese season.

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7:53am

Sun March 15, 2015
Middle East

Netanyahu Maintains Focus On Iran As His Voter Support Falls

Originally published on Sun March 15, 2015 11:03 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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1:14pm

Thu March 12, 2015
Parallels

The West Bank Battle For Land ... And Water

Originally published on Sat March 14, 2015 1:45 pm

The Bedouin camp has a black plastic water tank near a school built from mostly mud and tires.
Emily Harris/NPR

On Moshav Na'ama, a big Israeli farm in the West Bank inside the wide Jordan Valley, Inon Rosenblum raises fresh herbs for export.

He hires Palestinians to work the fields and pack the crops. The farm is 300 feet below sea level, a desert climate where irrigation is mandatory. Rosenblum won't say exactly how much water he uses, or exactly where it comes from.

"From wells," he says. "In the mountains." Then he changes the subject.

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7:51am

Thu March 5, 2015
Parallels

In Israel, A Vote To Choose A Leader And An Identity

Originally published on Thu March 5, 2015 1:58 pm

Shoppers walk through a market in downtown Jerusalem last November, shortly before Israel's coalition government collapsed. As Israel prepares for elections on March 17, the diverse population has very different notions of what the country should look like.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

Israel's March 17 election is two years earlier than it should be, thanks to the collapse of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's coalition government in December. Contributing to the breakup was an impassioned debate over whether a stronger legal emphasis on the country's Jewish character would ultimately make Israel less democratic.

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8:18am

Sun March 1, 2015
Parallels

In Israel, Jewish Divorce Is Granted Only By Husband's Permission

Originally published on Tue March 3, 2015 3:07 pm

In Gett, the character Viviane Ansalem wants a divorce but her husband will not give permission. In Israel, if you're Jewish, even if you're not religious, you have to be divorced by Jewish law.
Courtesy Music Box Films

In Israel, religious law governs family matters.

For a Jewish divorce, an Orthodox rabbi oversees a ritual that begins with the husband placing a folded decree, called a get or gett, into the wife's cupped hands. But that paper can be hard to obtain, because the husband can refuse to grant the divorce.

A new Israeli film playing in the U.S. shows how patriarchal Jewish divorce laws can trap even secular women for years.

The film is a drama called Gett: The Trial of Viviane Ansalem. Viviane wants a divorce but needs her husband's permission.

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5:09am

Thu February 12, 2015
Middle East

Arab-Israeli Parties Join Forces In Upcoming Israeli Election

Originally published on Thu February 12, 2015 9:09 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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5:15pm

Wed January 28, 2015
World

Israeli Soldiers Killed In Renewed Fighting With Hezbollah

Originally published on Wed January 28, 2015 6:20 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

5:21pm

Fri January 16, 2015
Parallels

French Immigrants To Israel Bring Part Of Home With Them

Originally published on Fri January 16, 2015 11:39 pm

An estimated 400 new French Jewish immigrants attended a welcoming ceremony after arriving on a flight from France to Tel Aviv, Israel in July 2014.
Lior Mizrahi Getty Images

French Jews, often with roots in North Africa, have been immigrating to Israel since that country's founding. The community has changed with the times, and after last week's attacks in Paris, is expected to grow — and change — again.

Samuela Mass left Paris in October last year. The 28-year-old French Jew came to Israel for a better life for him and his future family — and to escape violence.

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12:20pm

Thu December 25, 2014
Parallels

After 522 Years, Spain Seeks To Make Amends For Expulsion Of Jews

Originally published on Tue December 30, 2014 9:21 am

Children gather outside the El Transito synagogue and Sephardic Museum in Toledo, Spain. Founded in 1357, the synagogue was converted into a church following the expulsion of Jews from Spain in 1492. Spain is now preparing to pass a law that would allow descendants of the expelled Jews to receive Spanish citizenship.
Gerard Julien AFP/Getty Images

As night fell recently over the Spanish city of Toledo, Hanukkah candles lit up empty streets outside the medieval El Transito synagogue.

Folk songs in Ladino — a blend of Spanish and Hebrew — wafted across the garden of the synagogue, which is now the Sephardic Museum.

Sefarad means Spain in Hebrew, and the term refers to Jews of Spanish descent.

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5:24pm

Sun December 21, 2014
Parallels

Celebrating Hanukkah In A Palestinian City

Originally published on Tue December 23, 2014 8:56 am

Wolf celebrated Hanukkah in the Palestinian city of Ramallah in the West Bank last year. As the holiday approached, she felt lonely, until her Palestinian host mother and a few neighbors came to watch her light candles on her portable tin menorah and hear her explain the holiday story.
Courtesy of Amelia Wolf

Amelia Wolf, an American Jewish college student, was living in the Palestinian city of Ramallah when the holiday of Hanukkah rolled around last year.

She liked the Palestinian family that was hosting her in the West Bank, but she felt a little lonely. She wasn't going to celebrate in Israel, where she had friends and relatives, as she had other Jewish holidays.

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4:44pm

Wed December 17, 2014
Parallels

In Gaza, The Specter Of ISIS Proves Useful To Both Sides

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 9:15 pm

The Islamist group Hamas, shown here in a rally in the Gaza Strip on Dec. 12, is the strongest faction in the Gaza Strip. The Islamic State, or ISIS, is not believed to be in the territory, though fliers purporting to be from the group have circulated in Gaza. They are widely believed to be fake, but both Israel and Hamas have tried to use them to their advantage.
Mahmud Hams AFP/Getty Images

Earlier this month, more than a dozen writers, poets and activists in Gaza got threatening fliers signed with the name ISIS, the Sunni extremists fighting with brutal violence in Iraq and Syria.

But a few days later, a new flier, also signed ISIS, also known as the Islamic State, denied responsibility and apologized.

The incident is raising the question of whether ISIS is taking root in Gaza — or if someone is just playing around.

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