Tags / Israelis
October 2-5, 2014
Perhaps the most culturally significant city in the world, Jerusalem is a mosaic of religions, cultures, and traditions. It is a city where the past and the present collide in a both harmonious and conflictual way. Hip shopping malls are frequented by both secular Israelis and orthodox Jewish clientele who adhere to an ancient way of life; Palestinians buy mobile phones from a telecommunications kiosk in the walled old city; and international tourists marvel at one of the world's oldest churches. On the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur, the city's modern highways and light rail tramline stand empty as the use of all electronics is discouraged in recognition of the holiday. These photos illustrate the layers of this timeless, yet modern city.
September 7-19, 2014
Lifta, West Bank, Palestine
The last remaining deserted, pre-1948 Palestinian village in Israel is now facing possible destruction. Located on the outskirts of Jerusalem, the village of Lifta is now an empty collection of old stone houses falling into neglect. For the past 20 years, the Israeli government has been pushing to destroy the remaining buildings to make room for new luxury homes, hotels, a shopping mall, and a recreation park. The courts have rejected governmental requests to build, but the construction of a new railway line running through the village has many thinking that the end is near. In the meantime, local Israeli Jews use Lifta as a picnic spot and swim in its ancient spring. For the few surviving Palestinians who were born in Lifta, visiting their former village brings about a mix of emotions: nostalgia for an idyllic childhood spent amongst the olive groves, and bitterness at the destruction and appropriation of their home and heritage.
Lifta's inhabitants were systematically expelled by Israeli forces between 1947 and 1948. After the residents were expelled, Jewish immigrants, mostly from Yemen, moved into the empty homes. After the 6-Day War in 1967, the Israeli government offered the Jewish residents of Lifta new homes in Jerusalem. The residents happily accepted the offer and blew up the roofs of Lifta's houses before they left to ensure that no one would return to the village.
The Palestinian villages inside present day Israel which were deserted in 1948 have been largely erased from the map. While Israel still retains around 1 million Palestinian residents, many fear that the destruction of Lifta would erase, once and for all, the memory of those Palestinians who once inhabited much of present day Israel, but lost their homes when the state was created.
Initial meetings in Washington are set to get underway nine days after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry announced in Amman that an agreement had been reached that establishes a basis for resuming direct final status negotiations between the Palestinians and the Israelis.
Video Journalist Amy Hybels talked with young people living in Jordan, which has a large Palestinian population, following Kerry's initial announcement to find out how much hope they hold out for the resumption of peace talks.