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.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.


At a long table in the Level Up restaurant, 11 stories above Gaza City, Basil Eleiwa got a cake with a sparkling candle on top — to honor his eatery's second birthday.

"We opened two or three weeks before the 2014 war," Level Up's founder and co-owner notes, referring to the conflict that began in July 2014 between Israel and Hamas, the militant Islamist group that runs the Gaza strip.

The restaurant had closed during the seven weeks of fighting.

"The building was hit a number of times," Eleiwa says. "It didn't fall down."

Khaled Ali Hassanin opens his silver minivan and pulls into Cairo's busy traffic. He is a freelance driver. He used to ferry foreign tourists all around Egypt as a staff member of a tour company. It was a great job.

"There was so much work. I never worried about money. If I spent one [Egyptian] pound, I'd get two back. We had more work than we could handle," he says.

Crispy fried sardines. Spicy labneh dip for sweet bell peppers, cherry tomatoes and sliced cucumbers. Chilled arugula lemonade.

The top U.S. diplomat in Jerusalem, Counsel General Donald Blome, served Gaza-style cuisine at a garden party Monday night. Sound like the old-fashioned society pages? Nope. This is U.S. policy at work.

The event was designed to promote the potential of agribusiness in Gaza and tout new U.S. government investment in that crowded, narrow strip of Palestinian territory on the Mediterranean Sea.

Starting Wednesday night at sunset, Israel marked Holocaust Remembrance Day. Commemorations continued in schools around the country Thursday, including in kindergarten classes.

This year, Israel is fully implementing a Holocaust curriculum for kindergartners.

"We need to teach the kindergarten teachers what to do on Yom Hashoah, because they have to make sense of the day," says Yael Richler-Friedman, using the Hebrew name for the remembrance day.

Shortly before 6 p.m. on Monday, a bomb went off on a bus in Jerusalem, triggering bad memories for many Israelis. This type of attack had not happened in recent years.

Blocks away from the explosion, people paced the sidewalks, talking on cellphones or watching the small screens for flashes of information about what happened. They saw black smoke twist into the sky and heard ongoing sirens as medics, police and soldiers raced to the scene.

#NPRreads is a weekly feature on Twitter and on The Two-Way. The premise is simple: Correspondents, editors and producers from our newsroom share the pieces that have kept them reading, using the #NPRreads hashtag. Each weekend, we highlight some of the best stories.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.



Glint in the grass? Often, it's not even a nickel.

But last week, Israeli Laurie Rimon spotted a gleam while on a hike in northern Israel with several friends. It turned out to be a gold coin so unusual, Israeli archaeologists say there is only one other one with the same symbols in the world.

"It's extremely exciting," said Dr. Donald Ariel, an expert with the Israel Antiquities Authority, in comments released by the agency, which says the coin was struck by Roman Emperor Trajan in the year 107. "His gold coins are extremely rare."

Do good fences really make good neighbors? In the past months of increased violence in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, Palestinian attackers have cut or jumped fences surrounding Israeli settlements several times, stabbing and twice killing Israeli civilians.

Israel made a decision last week that supporters are calling game-changing. Men and women will be allowed to worship together at the holiest place where Jews can legally pray. This could lead to other changes in Israel.

Batya Kallus, who helped negotiate the deal that led to the government decision, is jubilant.

"This is groundbreaking," she says. "We've reconceived what the Western Wall includes."

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



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



You might not like your fava beans prepared the way Hannibal Lecter made them in the 1991 thriller Silence of the Lambs. But they can be delightful pureed or sauteed.

In a West Bank settlement, Israelis are taking down a synagogue. The country's highest court ordered its removal because it was built without a permit on property owned by Palestinians.

It's a rare move, and the story of how this came to be reveals a heated debate around judicial activism, government money, and settlers' political power.

Two weeks ago, the Ayalet HaShahar synagogue in the Giv'at Ze'ev settlement was packed with young Israeli men.

#NPRreads is a weekly feature on Twitter and on The Two-Way. The premise is simple: Correspondents, editors and producers from our newsroom share the pieces that have kept them reading, using the #NPRreads hashtag. On Fridays, we highlight some of the best stories.

This week, we bring you four items.

From Barbara Campbell, Newsdesk editor:

Israeli officials say Palestinians carrying out two separate attacks in Israel and the West Bank killed five people, including one American, on Thursday. The American was an 18-year-old student attending a yeshiva, or religious school, and was with a group of other students when he was killed.

A Palestinian and three Israelis were also killed, according to Israeli police. Both Palestinian assailants were taken into custody.

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



Israel already uses surveillance cameras to peer into the Temple Mount, as it is called by Jews, or the Al-Aqsa mosque, as it is commonly referred to by Muslims. But no cameras are actually inside the Old City compound, and no footage is shared between Israeli security agencies and the Muslim religious authority that runs the site sacred to both faiths.

Now a project is underway to change that, putting 24-hour surveillance cameras in the compound and, at some point, streaming video from there onto the Internet.

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

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



Israeli security forces are struggling to contain a recent wave of violence between Israelis and Palestinians that has erupted across Israel, the West Bank and Gaza, killing more than two dozen people in less than two weeks.

The government is deploying more security forces to areas of conflict, including Arab towns in Israel.

But shortly before this recent escalation began, city leaders in Jerusalem decided to try a new way to fight the separation and mistrust between Jews and Arabs, who constitute about 20 percent of all Israeli citizens.

Who is a Jew? It's an age-old question that in Israel been determined by government-selected rabbis in the decades since the country was established in 1948.

But now a group of Orthodox rabbis is challenging the state's control on determining who is and isn't Jewish — a status that affects many important aspects of life in Israel.

The parents of 7-year-old Lihi Goldstein weren't thinking about their daughter's future wedding when they adopted her as a toddler. Israelis Amit and Regina Goldstein picked the blue-eyed girl from a crowd of children at an orphanage in Ukraine.

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



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



What if a spoonful of ice cream could stretch out like melted mozzarella on a pizza?

"Mess!" you think. Or perhaps, "Fun!"

Ice cream with an elastic texture is a treat around the Levant. In Ramallah, two shops – with intertwined histories — cater to Palestinian cravings.

Rukab's is the original. It opened in 1941 as a cafe in the same spot where it still stands. But 59-year-old Hassan Rukab, son of the founder, says his family's ice cream business was operating much earlier.

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



A new United Nations assessment says the Gaza Strip could be uninhabitable in five years if the situation there doesn't improve. NPR's Emily Harris in Jerusalem reports the U.N. says things keep getting worse in Gaza.

When a Palestinian man in Israeli custody came close to death this week, doctors challenged an Israeli law.

Palestinian prisoner Mohammad Allan was in critical condition after he had refused food for two months, protesting his detention since last November in Israeli custody. Suspected of ties to a militant group, he was held with no charges, no lawyer and no accusations to face in court.

In the hot sun of a Jerusalem afternoon, kids wait for a fountain to turn on.

When water spouts into the air, 9-year-old Tzipora Baranas jumps right in. She's wearing black tights, a black, below-the-knee skirt and a long-sleeved black shirt.

"It's fun when the water spritzes up in my face," she says.

She is Orthodox Jewish and her outfit is in deference to religious modesty. She says she's not hot at all, despite the temperature hitting the 90s and the dark clothes covering all but her face and hands.

Of course, she is dripping wet at the moment.

During the upheaval of last year's war between Hamas and Israel, at least 23 Gazans were deliberately killed by their fellow Palestinians, according to a report out this week from Amnesty International.

Amnesty blames the killings on Hamas, which runs Gaza. It says those killed were accused of being collaborators — spies for Israel — and many were awaiting trial.