Intersecting parallels | women in haifa


intersecting parallels:
women in haifa

Although the palestinian-israeli conflict has been documented for decades, i find myself more interested in the quieter moments in such a tumultuous region. And as a palestinian-american female, I can’t help but notice the unfortunate stereotypes projected onto palestinian and israeli women alike. more often than not, they are introduced as one-dimensional characters—weeping widows or mothers, or perhaps even soldiers—and the story ends there.

Publisher: The New York Times Lens Blog
DATE: 2015


So, in the summer of 2014, I traveled to Haifa, Israel to conduct my master’s project for the university of missouri. i wanted to learn about women in israel—Jews, arabs and whoever else i may encounter along the way. haifa is a northern port city with a relatively diverse population. The third largest city in israel, it’s home to about 267,000 residents: roughly 80% are jews while approximately 6$ are palestinian christian and 4% are Palestinian Muslim (the other 10% are made up of other faiths or individuals who categorize themselves as “nonreligious” according to available data).

Six women—three mother/daughter pairs of different ethnic and religious backgrounds—were photographed living everyday life in and around Haifa. At the end of the summer, each woman was shown the same selection of images from her life as well as the lives of the other women documented. some of the images are included in this photo essay, others are not. visual aids often trigger more intimate answers, in the form of memories or personal experiences. this is why i chose to pursue photo elicitations with each individual woman—i wanted to learn how she views herself as well as the other women, and i wanted to hear it in her own words.

some of the women suggested that the war between israel and gaza—which began (again) after i started this project—might present a city under conditions that aren’t the norm.

Others insisted that haifa would still be a hub for political and social activism. regardless, the resulting photo essay and photo elicitation responses help provide insight into the construction of identity among a small group of women in israel as well as of haifa herself.