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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Parallels
5:21 pm
Fri January 16, 2015

French Immigrants To Israel Bring Part Of Home With Them

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

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

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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The Two-Way
7:34 pm
Sun December 7, 2014

6 Arrested For Looting Antiquities From Israel's 'Cave Of The Skulls'

An Israeli Antiquities Authority Prevention of Antiquities Robbery officer stands at the opening to a high cave in the Judean desert. Six men were indicted Sunday for looting from this cave.
Israel Antiquities Authority

Originally published on Mon December 8, 2014 4:43 am

Israel's Antiquities Authority Sunday announced it had indicted six men accused of stealing antiquities and destroying archaeological sites in the southern Judean Desert — the same desert where the Dead Sea Scrolls — religious texts dating from the third century BC — were found.

The announcement also revealed a connection to the ancient world: They had lice combs, too. The Antiquities Authority released a photo of what it says is a 2000-year-old lice comb captured along with the men.

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Middle East
4:23 pm
Thu November 27, 2014

Israel Is A Homeland For Jewish People — But Is It A Jewish State?

Originally published on Thu November 27, 2014 7:12 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

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Parallels
12:05 pm
Sat November 22, 2014

In Response To Attacks, Israel Takes Down Palestinian Homes

After Palestinian Abdel Rahman Shaludi killed two people with a car in an attack last month, Israel destroyed his family's apartment in East Jerusalem by blowing up the front outside and most internal walls. Israel says the aim is deterrence, while the Palestinians call it collective punishment.
Ahmad Gharabli AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun November 23, 2014 11:28 am

After a spate of deadly violence in Jerusalem, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promised to speed up home demolitions of attackers as a punishment and deterrent.

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Parallels
5:14 pm
Thu November 13, 2014

Israelis And Palestinians Ask: Is Another Uprising On The Way?

Palestinian members of Hamas' armed wing takes part in a rally Thursday in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip. The event was held in memory of Hamas military commanders killed during seven weeks of fighting with Israel in the Gaza Strip this summer.
Abed Rahim Khatib APA/Landov

Originally published on Fri November 14, 2014 10:31 am

During the first Palestinian uprising, or intifada, in the late 1980s, Palestinians refused to work in Israeli companies. Many threw stones and firebombs at Israeli troops.

During the second intifada, which erupted in 2000, suicide bombers repeatedly blew up public places in Israel, such as cafes, night clubs and buses.

Israeli Charlotte Slopack-Goller didn't ride the bus for a few years then.

"Now I take the buses without thinking," she says.

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Parallels
11:45 am
Sat November 1, 2014

For Palestinians, A Bridge-Building Bus Trip To Israel Turns Sour

Israel's West Bank separation barrier, shown here with the Jewish settlement Maale Adumim in the background, symbolizes the division between two societies that had much more interaction a generation ago.
Ahmad Gharabli AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon November 3, 2014 1:59 pm

When the Israelis and the Palestinians were trying to make peace back in the 1990s, one of the buzzwords was "normalization," the attempt by both sides to learn to live together.

But in these days of ceaseless friction, normalization has become something of a dirty word, particularly for Palestinians. Nearly 50 Palestinians from the West Bank encountered these bitter sentiments when they went to Israel for an unusual one-day trip last week.

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Parallels
5:43 pm
Fri October 10, 2014

Amid Tight Restrictions And Rubble, A Cement Shortage In Gaza

A Palestinian worker checks a truck loaded with bags of cement as it crosses into southern Gaza from Israel last year. Israel has restricted cement supplies to only specific projects.
Said Khatib AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon October 13, 2014 5:15 pm

Gaza businessman Maher Abu Ghanema wants to rebuild his currency exchange shop in Gaza City, but because for years Israel has restricted cement supplies to only specific projects, it's been slow going.

"I need at least 3 tons of cement," says Ghanema, who after two weeks of effort found 1 ton. "Whatever we got is from the black market, and it costs four or five times higher than the original price. Plus, it's low-quality."

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The Salt
11:09 am
Fri October 3, 2014

The Birth And Afterlife Of Israel's Precious Etrog Fruit

A man picks up an etrog, one of four plant species used during the celebration of Sukkot, in the ultra-Orthodox city of Bnei Brak in central Israel in September, 2012.
Jack Guez AFP/Getty Images

In a temporary warehouse in Israel's ultra-Orthodox town of Bnei Brak, Shaul Kalimi examines etrogs.

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Middle East
5:03 pm
Mon August 4, 2014

Gaza Family Mourns The Loss Of A Son, Brother — And Hamas Militant

Originally published on Mon August 4, 2014 7:09 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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Middle East
5:30 am
Wed July 30, 2014

After War's Deadliest Day, Another U.N. School In Gaza Gets Hit

Originally published on Wed July 30, 2014 8:07 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Parallels
5:47 pm
Fri July 18, 2014

Inside Gaza And Under Israeli Fire, A Family Tries To Stay Safe

Smoke rises after an Israeli missile strike in Gaza City on Friday.
Hatem Moussa AP

Originally published on Fri July 18, 2014 7:54 pm

The beginning of Israel's ground invasion Thursday night was loud. Explosions lit up the sky to the north and east and boomed throughout the Gaza Strip.

But Friday started pretty quietly for Rashad Abu Tawila.

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Parallels
7:08 pm
Tue July 15, 2014

The Violence In Gaza, Through The Lens Of One Family's Losses

Iman el-Kaas' 33-year-old husband, Anas, was killed last week by an Israeli attack that hit their apartment in the Gaza Strip. She says her husband, a pharmacist, had no ties to Hamas. He is among the nearly 200 killed so far in the current conflict.
Emily Harris NPR

Originally published on Tue July 15, 2014 8:16 pm

Cloaked in black from head to toe, Iman el-Kaas cries in her mother's home in the Gaza Strip. Iman is in mourning.

Her husband, Anas el-Kaas, was killed by an Israeli attack that hit their apartment in Gaza early Friday morning. He was 33 years old, a pharmacist with two young children. They had just moved in a few months ago.

"I thought that apartment was gift, but it was the place he would be killed," Iman says. "Why? Why did they kill him?"

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Middle East
6:52 am
Tue July 1, 2014

Israeli Military Responds After 3 Missing Teens Found Dead

Originally published on Tue July 1, 2014 2:24 pm

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Three Israeli teenagers are being buried side-by-side today. They were kidnapped almost three weeks ago while hitchhiking in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, and it now appears they were shot and killed almost immediately. Israeli soldiers found their bodies yesterday under a pile of rocks in a West Bank field. Israel blames the Palestinian militant group Hamas for the murders. NPR's Emily Harris is based in Jerusalem, but she's spending sometime in Washington right now, so she joins us in our studios. Emily, good morning.

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Middle East
5:24 pm
Mon June 16, 2014

Teens Disappear In The West Bank, And Israel Blames Hamas

Originally published on Mon June 16, 2014 8:20 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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Middle East
7:57 am
Tue June 3, 2014

U.S. To Work With Palestinian Unity Government Despite Hamas

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And I'm David Greene. Let's examine now what has changed in the Middle East. Palestinians went ahead yesterday with a plan to form a unity government. It includes Fatah, the party that recognizes Israel, and Hamas which does not. The United States says it will work with that unity government. In a moment, we'll ask Israel's ambassador to the U.S. what Israel will do. We begin with NPR's Emily Harris in Jerusalem.

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Middle East
4:22 pm
Mon June 2, 2014

Palestinian Split Shows Signs Of Healing, But Israelis Aren't Pleased

Originally published on Mon June 2, 2014 6:50 pm

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas swore in the cabinet for a unity government joining his Fatah party with Hamas. It resolves a 7-year-old split but also draws condemnation from Israeli leaders.

Middle East
6:41 am
Mon May 26, 2014

Pope Francis Wraps Up 3-Day Trip To Middle East

Originally published on Mon May 26, 2014 7:23 am

Pope Francis is in Jerusalem. He stopped at the holiest Jewish and Muslim sites in that city. The pope has invited Palestinian and Israeli leaders to join him in Rome to discuss Mideast peace.

The Salt
5:28 pm
Thu May 15, 2014

Organic Produce Is A Tough Sell In The Gaza Strip

Rami al-Naffar is the clerk at a small organic produce shop in Gaza City.
Emily Harris/NPR

Outside a small organic produce shop in Gaza City, a large sidewalk placard reads "Good Earth" in Arabic in big red letters, followed by "Organic produce, free of chemical fertilizers and pesticides." The same message is on the shop's awning.

But "people don't notice the signs, they come in and ask, 'Why these [high] prices?,' " says Rami al-Naffar, the clerk here.

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Middle East
5:03 am
Fri April 25, 2014

Israel Suspends Peace Talks After Palestinians Reach Unity Deal

Originally published on Fri April 25, 2014 8:09 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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World
6:16 pm
Wed April 16, 2014

Israel's Ultra-Orthodox Put Faith In Unorthodox Dating Service

Unlike many young women in her ultra-Orthodox Jewish community, Yael Mizrachi drives and has two university degrees. She's also having a difficult time finding a spouse.
Emily Harris NPR

Originally published on Mon May 5, 2014 11:52 am

Yael Mizrachi, a 30-year-old Israeli woman, has been to many matchmakers.

"Too many," she says, rolling her wide dark eyes and tossing her shoulder-length hair.

Matchmakers are the traditional way to find a mate in the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community to which Mizrachi belongs. But she is not entirely traditional.

"I identify myself as a modern ultra-Orthodox," Mizrachi says.

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Middle East
4:02 pm
Thu April 3, 2014

Two Israeli Settlers Speak Of Life — And Plans — On Disputed Land

Originally published on Thu April 3, 2014 7:34 pm

From the Palestinian perspective, a big obstacle to peace is the presence of 350,000 Israelis on land expected to be part of any future Palestinian state. Two of those settlers offer their viewpoints.

Parallels
5:30 pm
Wed January 29, 2014

A Palestinian Explains Why He Worked As An Israeli Informant

Abdel Hamid el-Rajoub, a Palestinian, became an informant for Israel while serving time in an Israeli prison. Palestinian informants play a key role in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, though both sides can be reluctant to speak about it. Rajoub, who now lives in Israel, says he is no longer an informant.
Emily Harris NPR

Originally published on Thu January 30, 2014 11:00 am

It took four years in a prison cell for Palestinian Abdel Hamid el-Rajoub to decide to work as an Israeli informant. Not that he ever planned it that way. Rajoub is in his 60s now. He grew up in a Palestinian village near Hebron, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. He says he was 19, an emotional young man, when he got involved in fighting Israel.

"It was my right," he says, "to fight Israel and the occupation."

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Parallels
6:06 am
Tue January 21, 2014

Palestinian Herders Pick Up The Pieces After Homes Destroyed

Nehida Bne Menneh stands amid the rubble of her home in a small Palestinian herding camp in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. It was destroyed for being in an area Israel long ago declared a closed military zone.
Emily Harris NPR

Originally published on Sun January 26, 2014 2:14 pm

NPR's Emily Harris sent this postcard after visiting a community of Palestinian herders whose camp was demolished for being in a closed Israeli military zone.

It's about 20 minutes by four-wheel drive up a rocky canyon to Khirbet 'Ein Karzaliyah, a near-barren plain with a small spring. A handful of families live here, including more than a dozen children and over 700 sheep and goats.

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Parallels
12:14 pm
Tue December 17, 2013

Israeli Startup Offers Kids Social Media Training Wheels

Many children want to participate in social media sites like Facebook before they're old enough to legally sign up.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Sun December 22, 2013 9:14 am

Two years ago, Itay Eshet's daughter told him she wanted a Facebook account. She was 10 years old.

Facebook's great, Eshet told her, but it's not for kids. So instead they built a new social network for preteens called Nipagesh, which means "let's meet" in Hebrew.

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Parallels
5:08 am
Tue October 22, 2013

Election In Ultra-Orthodox Israeli Town Tests Gender Norms

Candidates for town council Michal Chernovitsky (left) and Adina Ruhamkin campaign in a park in El'ad, or Forever God, a small religious community in Israel. They could be the first women on El'ad's council, and the first ultra-Orthodox women to win public office in Israel.
Emily Harris NPR

Originally published on Sun October 27, 2013 8:29 am

Voters across Israel choose new mayors and city councilors in local elections Tuesday. In one small town, a handful of ultra-Orthodox Jewish women are defying the norms of their community by running for office.

On a recent day, children mob two women in skirts, stockings and purple T-shirts in a neighborhood park in El'ad, or Forever God. The women are candidates for town council. As part of their get-the-word-out campaign, they're blowing up balloons for kids.

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Middle East
5:58 am
Wed October 16, 2013

A Graduate Student's Odyssey From Gaza To Indianapolis

Palestinian travelers wait to cross into Egypt at the Rafah crossing terminal in the southern Gaza Strip earlier this month.
Said Khatib AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun October 20, 2013 8:30 am

To get a small sense of Fida'a Abuassi's odyssey, start on June 28, days before the Egyptian coup. She had just returned to her native Gaza Strip via Cairo after spending the year in New York on the U.S. government-sponsored Fulbright student program.

"I came back to Gaza, and then they declared that they will close the border until further notice," she says.

Her goal was to get to Indiana by August to start her master's program at the University of Indianapolis.

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Middle East
3:21 am
Thu October 3, 2013

Israel Eases Restriction On Building Materials To Gaza Strip

Palestinians inspect trucks loaded with iron arriving from Israel through the Kerem Shalom border crossing into Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, on Sept. 22. The delivery of the materials to the private sector is a first since the Hamas takeover in 2007.
Hatem Moussa AP

Originally published on Sun October 6, 2013 9:05 am

Israel eased a major restriction on the Gaza Strip last week. For the first time in six years, limited commercial shipments of cement and iron were allowed through Israel into Gaza.

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Middle East
6:21 am
Mon September 23, 2013

Syria's Move To Join Chemical Treaty Puts Pressure On Israel

Originally published on Sun September 29, 2013 8:24 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

World leaders are convening in New York this week for the United Nations' General Assembly. And among other things, they're facing some potentially dramatic changes in arms control in the Middle East. Syria might give up it chemical weapons. Iran is signaling that it might negotiate with the West over its nuclear plans. From Jerusalem, NPR's Emily Harris looks at how this might affect Israel and its own weapons programs.

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The Salt
5:13 pm
Wed August 28, 2013

The Latest Frontier In Gourmet Salt, From The Lowest Point On Earth

An Israeli man bathes in the Dead Sea. Spas have long touted the health benefits of the Dead Sea. So does Naked Sea Salt.
Sebastian Scheiner AP

Originally published on Sun September 1, 2013 8:34 am

When you go to the Dead Sea for a float in its extraordinarily buoyant waters, signs warn you not to drink a drop. "Did you swallow water?" one Dead Sea do's and don'ts list asks. "Go immediately to the lifeguard."

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The Salt
3:33 am
Wed August 28, 2013

You Say 'Kubbeh,' I Say 'Kibbeh,' Let's Eat 'Em All Right Now

At the Te'amim — or Tastes — cooking camp in Jerusalem, kids learn how to make kubbeh hamusta, a popular regional dumpling from Kurdistan.
Emily Harris NPR

Originally published on Wed August 28, 2013 12:33 pm

People across the Levant love their dumplings, even if they can't agree on a name. Some say kubbeh; others say kibbeh. In Egypt, you might hear kobeba.

In Jerusalem, there are perhaps as many variations of the kubbeh as there are cultures in the city.

One popular version consists of meat wrapped in bulgur, then deep fried. Dip one in tahini for a crunchy snack.

But at the Te'amim — or Tastes — cooking camp in Jerusalem, chef Udi Shlomi prefers to teach kids to make kubbeh hamusta.

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