Hasna shops with her niece Sham, 7, at a grocery store near her family’s village, Al Bi’ina, which is about 40 minutes outside of Haifa. Hasna returns once a week to help care for her mother.
Hasna in the lobby of her workplace, Cegas, which also shares a building with an advocacy center for Arab citizens in Israel called Mossawa Center.
Hasna assisting her mother, Jamilah, 86, who has her own flat on the second floor of a home shared with some of her children and grandchildren.
Hasna’s weekly visits also coincide with a large dinner that some of her siblings, spouses and friends attend.
Hasna and her poodle, Sukar, who also makes the weekly trip back home, sleeping on the floor next to her mother, Jamilah. “This isn’t very common, even among Arabs, it’s lessened — the importance to care for the elderly,” Hasna said.
Hasna, who doesn’t smoke, is teased by friends and co-workers as she takes a drag of a cigarette. She hosted the group of women at her condo, which overlooks the city. Once the war in Gaza began, Hasna spent less time socializing.
Hasna’s daughter, Terez, 29, visits her mother as regularly as her schedule permits. “Terez...she is me. I love her so much. All our lives we’ve been close,” said Hasna.
Terez spent the summer of 2014 recording her first solo album. Upon seeing this image in the photo elicitation, Terez described her frustrations of not being accepted by Israelis yet having Palestinians in the West Bank view Palestinian Israelis as detached from them. "We’re not here and we’re not there.”
"O.K., in the picture...with the woman protesting, I feel as if the woman protests against the country," said Sapir, a 22-year-old Jewish Israeli woman, regarding Hasna at a Palestinian protest in Nazareth. "A sense of coercion since she lives in the country, and this is how she protests when there is an operation." On July 21, 2014, Palestinian businesses throughout Israel and the West Bank went on strike as a response to the escalation of the 50-day war in Gaza, known as Operation Protective Edge.
"I don't want to do something that keeps me in one place," Terez said. Despite spending much of her time in Nazareth, it presents its own challenges. Temporarily living with her husband's family doesn't allow for much space and privacy.
When in Haifa, Terez frequents pubs with friends, often fellow musicians and artists. While there are neighborhoods, specifically a hip street called Masada, that feature coffee shops, pubs and restaurants filled with young creatives of varied backgrounds, this pub is located in a predominantly Palestinian area of the city.
Terez visits the beach as often as she can to unwind.
Daphi & Sapir
Daphi hands her mother, Yaffa, 77, cake as they, along with her husband, sister and other family members, spend part of the Sabbath on a beach in Haifa. Daphi’s mother recently returned from a trip to Budapest.
Daphi doing the laundry of her daughter 19-year-old daughter, Inbar, who was home visiting from the army.
Daphi walks along the beach with her friends and husband.
Daphi at a conference for employees of Branco Weiss Institute to meet and go over teaching techniques. “It’s not enough to be idealistic,” a speaker said during one of the presentations. “We have to be pragmatic realistic.” “It’s like a laboratory,” said Daphi regarding the mixture of religions and ethnicities that work for Weiss.
Daphi’s youngest daughter, Inbar, 19, serving her first of two mandatory years in the Israeli army. Stationed in the south of Israel, Inbar visits home every two weeks. Men are required to serve for three years.
“This isn’t close to me because it doesn’t belong to me. The opposite, because the situation here is the clothes—a soldier’s clothes, and a soldier doesn’t represent me. A soldier is my enemy, because he kills my countrymen...” said Hasna when viewing the image. "I don’t want to see it. I don’t want to give it human translation because there is no humanity. A mother and her daughter, there is something affectionate and something human, but still...no. I can’t see it.”
Sapir waiting for her mother, who was scheduled to work in Jerusalem that day, to pick her up and take her back to Haifa. Sapir put off school until she fulfilled her mandatory time serving for her country. For two years, Sapir was stationed with the navy as a simulator for submarines. Now, she’s pursuing a law degree at the University of Jerusalem, but regularly commutes home to see her family and boyfriend.
Daphi had a German friend whom she’d walked with for one hour, three days a week for 18 years. After her friend moved, she continued the ritual with Sapir when she’s home from school. Daphi sees it as a good opportunity to bond with her daughter.
Sapir served in the Israeli navy.
Sapir receives a phone call from her mother while out for sushi with her best friend, Lital, 22. The girls, busy with demanding school schedules, try to find time to catch up on boys, exams and look over pictures of puppies on their phones.
Every Friday, Sapir visits her paternal grandmother’s home for a big Sabbath dinner. “I think that the family is your roots and it’s something that you can’t deny,” said Sapir. “You can choose which political wing you want to be or your friends, but the family is your basic identity and no one can ignore it.”
Sapir’s grandmother, Rina, 81, bids her granddaughter farewell after their weekly Sabbath dinner. The dinner is also provides Sapir with the opportunity to regularly see her father’s side of the family since her parents’ divorce.
Khulud & Michelle
Khulud’s weekly ritual starts with a cup of coffee and two cigarettes before kicking off the day with her mother, Emilia, 62, who needs help due to health issues. Both women live in Haifa.
Khulud helps wash her mother Emilia.
Emilia’s speech and movements are limited after the stroke.
Khulud discusses Kayan’s goals with a group of visiting Belgium activists. “A lot of times in our society, the men tell us ‘Forget about women’s rights now. Let’s focus on the occupation.’ In order to be politically active, you need to know your rights first,” she told the group.
Khulud at a rally for peace on July 4, 2014—just days before Israel launched Operation Protective Edge in Gaza. Across the street (and outside of the frame) were right-wing Jews chanting anti-Arab rhetoric. Tensions were high after three teenage settlers went missing in the West Bank earlier in the summer, followed by a Palestinian teen being burned alive in Jerusalem.
Khulud and Michelle pose for a selfie in their home.
"Arab culture isn't something I connect to," said Michelle, whose mother is half Palestinian. Piercings, tattoos and a shaved head were "too weird for an Arab to do." Here, Michelle was sitting outside her mother's work, a building that houses the Haifa Women's Coalition—the Haifa Battered Women's Hotline, the Haifa Rape Crisis Center, the Isha L'isha Feminist Center and the Kayan Feminist Organization.
Michelle and her friend David, 17, watching video clips on a cellphone at Michelle's home. The painting on the family room wall was done by a transgender friend of Michelle's.
Michelle speaks fluent Arabic with her mother at home, has mostly Jewish friends and loves American pop culture. Michelle's room is adorned with Michael Jackson posters, she regularly watches Doctor Who and has the complete Twilight series.
When asked what the beauty standards are in Israeli society and whether this ad represented them, the women's answers varied. Michelle doesn't ads such as this set the standards. "I mean, every woman has her own body, her own curves, her own look and whatever. Every woman is different. I don’t think that all women should look the same," said Michelle.
Michelle dancing with a friend at the Gay Pride Parade in Haifa.