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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7:57am

Tue June 3, 2014
Middle East

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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4:36pm

Mon June 2, 2014
Middle East

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.

5:17pm

Mon May 26, 2014
Religion

Pope Francis Ends Historic Mideast Trip

Originally published on Mon May 26, 2014 5:43 pm

Pope Francis wraps up his trip to the Middle East, where he addressed some of the region's tough political issues and cast some dramatic images at its most sensitive spots.

6:41am

Mon May 26, 2014
Middle East

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.

3:06am

Fri May 23, 2014
Parallels

Palestinians Appeal To Pope For Help In Land Disputes With Israel

Originally published on Fri May 23, 2014 10:25 am

Father Ibrahim Shomali, a Palestinian priest, holds prayer vigils every Friday in the Cremisan Valley near Bethlehem. Israel is planning to build a wall, citing security needs, on agricultural land here owned by a local monastery. Shomali has asked Pope Francis to intervene.
Emily Harris NPR

When Pope Francis visits Jerusalem on Monday, he will celebrate Mass in one of the holiest Christian sites in the world.

The Cenacle, or the Upper Room, is traditionally considered the place where Christ shared his Last Supper with disciples before he was crucified.

But the spot is holy not only to Christians. Below, some Jews believe, is the tomb of King David. A mosque has also stood on this site.

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12:55pm

Sun May 18, 2014
Middle East

Unity Is A Difficult Mission For Christians In Israel

Originally published on Mon May 19, 2014 1:58 pm

Arab-Israeli children ride in a float during an annual march for Virgin Mary in the northern Israeli city of Haifa on May 11. Arab Christians don't mix much with migrant or Russian Christians.
Ahmad Gharibli AFP/Getty Images

Pope Francis visits the Mideast next week, including Israel, where Christians make up just 2 percent of the population.

But since the last papal visit to the Holy Land five years ago, the number of Christians in Israel has increased, and the makeup of the Christian population has continued to shift.

The vast majority of Israeli Christians have always been Arab and they still make up three-quarters of the 160,000 Christians living in Israel. But tens of thousands of Christians have come to Israel from Asia and Africa — both legal workers and undocumented migrants.

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5:28pm

Thu May 15, 2014
The Salt

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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3:07am

Tue May 13, 2014
Parallels

Poverty Among Holocaust Survivors Hits A Nerve In Israel

Originally published on Tue May 20, 2014 11:37 am

An Israeli places a flower beside the name of the World War II Nazi concentration camp Bergen-Belsen during a ceremony marking Holocaust Remembrance Day at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, on April 28. The Israeli government is weighing a new plan that would get more financial help to elderly Holocaust survivors, including about 50,000 in the country who are living below the poverty line.
Ammar Awad Reuters/Landov

Yulia Feuerman stays dry-eyed while retelling many of her experiences during World War II.

When she was 10, Feuerman was separated from her mother and two sisters by Nazi soldiers in their small town in what is now western Ukraine. They were sent to a concentration camp. Feuerman, her father and two remaining siblings went into hiding with other Jews — but were eventually found by the Germans. Her father and brother were shot and killed. A Christian family took Feuerman in, pretending she was their daughter to protect her.

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5:03am

Fri April 25, 2014
Middle East

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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4:21pm

Wed April 23, 2014
News

Palestinian Talks Could Heal Leadership Divide And Anger Israelis

Originally published on Wed April 23, 2014 11:06 pm

Palestinian leaders say they're close to a deal that would end the seven-year division between Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, and the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank. Questions remain about whether the deal would hold up, as well as what it might mean for ongoing efforts to forge a deal between Palestinians and Israelis.

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6:16pm

Wed April 16, 2014
World

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

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

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

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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3:09pm

Thu April 3, 2014
Parallels

Stay Or Go: How Israeli-Palestinian Peace Would Redefine Home

Originally published on Thu April 3, 2014 5:15 pm

A key, symbolizing the Palestinians who lost their homes at the creation of the state of Israel in 1948, sits at the entrance of the West Bank city of Jericho, on Feb. 22.
Thomas Coex AFP/Getty Images

More than 1 million Arabs are citizens of Israel. And over the years, some 350,000 Jewish Israelis have moved to settlements in the West Bank. If the Israelis and Palestinians were to make peace and set a formal border, what would happen to all these people?

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4:12pm

Thu March 27, 2014
Middle East

Israeli Prisoner Release Steps Toward Peace And Draws Controversy

Originally published on Thu March 27, 2014 7:03 pm

Israel is preparing a prisoner release as part of the peace process with Palestinians. Arab citizens of Israel are set to be let go, a move more controversial than releasing non-citizen Palestinians.

7:50am

Sat March 22, 2014
Middle East

In A 'Brilliant' Move, Hamas Puts A Woman Out Front

Originally published on Sat March 22, 2014 11:18 am

Isra al-Modallal is the first woman to be the public face of Hamas, the conservative group that rules the Palestinian territory. "Brilliant" is how one Gaza observer describes the decision.

7:59am

Sun March 9, 2014
Europe

Russian Troops Continue Movements In Crimea

Originally published on Sun March 9, 2014 12:00 pm

As the standoff continues in Crimea, Russia warns the U.S. against "hasty" sanctions. Ukraine officials accuse pro-Russian forces of armed aggression.

4:29pm

Mon March 3, 2014
Europe

Western Diplomats Visit Kiev, Bringing Few Answers With Them

Originally published on Mon March 3, 2014 7:19 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish. We begin this hour in Ukraine where Russian troops took control of more areas in Crimea today, including a ferry terminal between the Ukrainian peninsula and Russia. Western countries are strategizing a response to the crisis with many meetings and several high level visits to Ukraine. Secretary of State John Kerry is due in Kiev tomorrow.

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4:07pm

Thu February 27, 2014
Middle East

A Greek Treasure Pulled From The Sea Disappears Again In Gaza

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 7:57 pm

Last year, a Palestinian man fishing off the coast of the Gaza Strip discovered what is thought to be a 2,500-year-old bronze statue of the Greek god Apollo. The rare statue vanished from public view almost immediately after being pulled from the sea. The Hamas government in Gaza says it now has control of the statue.
APA Images/STR APA/Landov

On a sunny Friday in August last year, Judah Abughorab paddled a small, flat boat over the blue Mediterranean Sea about 100 yards off the Gaza Strip's sandy shore.

He doesn't really like to eat fish, but catching them is the unemployed construction worker's favorite pastime.

That day, he netted a half a dozen. Then, through the clear water, he spotted something that made him look again.

"It looked like a person," he says. "Eyes, a face, hands, fingers."

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5:26pm

Mon February 10, 2014
Middle East

Building Pressure May Mean Progress In Israeli Peace Talks

Originally published on Tue February 11, 2014 3:55 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

There is a fake John Kerry wandering around Jerusalem these days. He stars in several satirical videos criticizing the U.S. effort to negotiate a peace agreement between Israeli and Palestinian leaders. The State Department suggests it is just the latest sign that Kerry has put real pressure on Israel to move toward a peace deal. NPR's Emily Harris reports.

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4:29pm

Wed February 5, 2014
Parallels

Even Among Their Own, Consensus Eludes Israelis And Palestinians

Nimrod Vider, an Israeli who owns a cafe in the Jordan Valley, part of the Israeli-occupied West Bank. He says he would be willing to leave the West Bank if the Israeli government thought it was the right thing to do.
Emily Harris NPR

Disputes between Palestinians and Israelis are a constant in their decades-old conflict, and that's what the wider world usually hears about.

But there are also near constant internal disagreements among Israelis. And Palestinians have divergent views too. On a recent trip through the Jordan Valley, which is deep inside the Israeli-occupied West Bank, near the border with Jordan, I spoke with Israelis and Palestinians about their internal differences.

Here's a sampling of those conversations:

An Israeli Cafe Owner and A Regular Customer

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5:09pm

Thu January 30, 2014
Parallels

Scarlett Johansson's Middle East Flap ... Over Soda

Originally published on Sat February 1, 2014 9:55 am

Scarlett Johansson recently became SodaStream's spokeswoman and appeared at an event at the Gramercy Park Hotel on Jan. 10 in New York City. The actress soon found herself engulfed in controversy because of her affiliation with a company that has a factory in a Jewish settlement in the West Bank.
Mike Coppola Mike Coppola/Getty Images for SodaStream

When celebrities get drawn into the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, wittingly or not, controversy is sure to follow.

American actress Scarlett Johansson is the latest to discover this ironclad law of Middle East politics. And the issue is soda.

Johansson has for the past eight years been the celebrity representative for Oxfam International, the global aid organization.

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4:26pm

Wed January 29, 2014
Parallels

A Palestinian Explains Why He Worked As An Israeli Informant

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

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

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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6:06am

Tue January 21, 2014
Parallels

Palestinian Herders Pick Up The Pieces After Homes Destroyed

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

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

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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3:31am

Tue December 31, 2013
Middle East

What Israel's Release Of Palestinian Prisoners Means For Peace

Originally published on Tue December 31, 2013 10:17 am

Freed Palestinian prisoner Omar Masoud served 20 years of a minimum 90-year sentence for killing Ian Feinberg, an Israeli, in 1993. Israel freed Masoud in October as part of a political deal to restart peace negotiations with the Palestinians.
Emily Harris NPR

On Tuesday, Israel released another two-dozen Palestinian prisoners convicted of violent crimes against Israelis.

It's the third of four groups to be released before their sentences are up, part of a confidence-building deal that helped restart peace negotiations in July.

Palestinian Omar Masoud was a prisoner freed in one of the previous releases. He says that when he agreed to kill an Israeli working in the Gaza Strip, he expected consequences.

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3:29pm

Sat December 28, 2013
Parallels

What It Costs To Cover Your Noggin In Jerusalem

Originally published on Sun December 29, 2013 8:16 am

A salesman at Ferster Quality Hats in the ultra-Orthodox Jewish neighborhood Mea Shearim suggests rabbit felt hats made in Hungary for around $200. Twice the price of made-in-China, but he says they last much longer.
Emily Harris NPR

Just how far does a dollar go? We'll try to answer that question as part of an occasional series on what things cost around the world. In this installment, NPR's Emily Harris looks at the price of headwear in Jerusalem.

In Israel and the Palestinian territories, headgear is big business. How much does it cost to cover up for different religions, traditions and fashions?

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12:14pm

Tue December 17, 2013
Parallels

Israeli Startup Offers Kids Social Media Training Wheels

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

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

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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8:13am

Sun December 1, 2013
Middle East

Palestinian Refugees On Losing Side Of UN Budget Crunch

Originally published on Sun December 8, 2013 8:17 am

Palestinian refugee Lawahez Burghal stuffs tripe with rice and garbanzo beans for her family in their home in the Amari refugee camp in the West Bank. Many refugees still depend on the United Nations for food, health care and education.
Emily Harris NPR

The United Nations agency that provides basic health care and education to Palestinian refugees doesn't have enough money to pay local salaries this month.

The shortfall could directly affect 30,000 teachers, doctors and social workers, as well as the people using their services in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and the Palestinian territories.

Filling Basic Needs

Sit for an hour in the United Nations Relief and Works Agency office in the al-Amari camp for Palestinian refugees, and you get a sense of what people expect the agency to provide.

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3:21am

Wed November 27, 2013
Parallels

Israel Dreams Of A Future As An Oil Producer

Originally published on Sun December 1, 2013 8:51 am

Givot Olam CEO Tovia Luskin expects to drill 40 wells and build a pipeline to a refinery on the coast. The company already has "proven and probable" reserves of 12.5 million barrels of oil. Luskin chose where to drill based on a passage from the Bible.
Emily Harris/ NPR

There's an old joke that if Moses had turned right when he led Jewish tribes out of Egypt, Israel might be where Saudi Arabia is today — and be rich from oil. Consultant Amit Mor of Eco Energy says that joke is out of date.

"Israel has more oil than Saudi Arabia," he claims. "And it's not a joke."

But that oil will be difficult to reach, if it can be recovered at all. The oil he's talking about is not yet liquid but is trapped in rocks underground.

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7:59am

Tue November 26, 2013
Parallels

Critical Of Nuclear Deal, Israel Wonders What May Come Next

Originally published on Sun December 1, 2013 8:50 am

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly Cabinet meeting at his office Sunday in Jerusalem. Netanyahu says world powers gave away too much for too little in the interim deal reached last weekend with Iran over its nuclear program.
Getty Images

Many Israelis are critical of the interim deal on Iran's nuclear program, and some are even more worried about what could follow.

"What's important here is that both sides decided: We have to start consulting. Right now," says Dore Gold, a former Israeli ambassador to the United Nations, now head of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.

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7:43am

Sat November 16, 2013
Parallels

African Migrants Find An Uneasy Asylum In Israel

Originally published on Sun November 17, 2013 8:22 am

Philip Giray came from Eritrea to Israel two years ago. He is one of some 60,000 migrants living in Israel.
Emily Harris NPR

The scissors never seem to stop in Sami's barber shop off a pedestrian street in south Tel Aviv.

Fresh out of the barber's chair, Philip Giray says he left Eritrea two years ago. Smugglers helped the 20-year-old cross into Sudan and Egypt. Then he snuck into Israel.

"We come here, we ask asylum here, they doesn't welcome us," Giray says. "They punish us psychological, you know?"

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7:11am

Sun October 13, 2013
Parallels

A Decade On, A Boy, A Ball And A West Bank Wall

Originally published on Sun October 20, 2013 8:29 am

A decade ago, Israel's separation barrier cut off Ishaq Amer's home from its Palestinian village.
Emily Harris NPR

A little more than a decade ago, in an effort to improve security, Israel began building a physical barrier in and around the West Bank.

The Amer family is among the Palestinians whose lives were disrupted. The concrete wall and fence cut them off from their village. Their son was separated from his soccer buddies, the most important thing in the world to him at the time.

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