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
3:47 am
Tue July 21, 2015

Gaza To Canada And Back To Gaza: Why A Family Chose To Return

Ihab al-Aloul (left) and his sons Abdel Rahman, 9, and Ahmed, 22, at the family's pool in Gaza City. The Aloul family left Gaza in 2008 and moved to British Columbia, Canada, but returned to Gaza in the fall of 2014.
Emily Harris NPR

Originally published on Wed July 22, 2015 2:25 pm

What would make you move to Gaza?

The small strip of land along the Mediterranean coast is run by Hamas, the Islamist group Israel and the U.S. consider a terrorist organization. Earlier this year the World Bank said Gaza probably had the highest rate of unemployment in the world. It can be difficult to get into Gaza, and, if you are Palestinian, very difficult to get the necessary Israeli or Egyptian permission to leave.

Three wars between Israel and Hamas since 2008 killed more than 3,000 Gazans, the majority civilians.

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Parallels
4:11 pm
Thu July 16, 2015

Quadriplegic Israeli Woman Challenges Surrogacy Rules And Loses A Child

Ora Mor Yosef, a quadriplegic Israeli woman, had a surrogate child via a niece who underwent the procedure in India and gave birth in Israel. But Israeli authorities, including the High Court, ruled against Mor Yosef, and the baby has been in foster care for more than two years.
Emily Harris NPR

Originally published on Fri July 17, 2015 6:50 am

Ora Mor Yosef, a disabled Israeli woman, challenged her country's rules about surrogate parenting and lost the baby.

Single and in her 30s, her efforts began by asking her traditional Jewish family what they thought.

"I wanted to hear how they would feel if I were a single parent," Mor Yosef says. "To my joy they agreed, and gave their blessing."

The next step was getting pregnant. But Mor Yosef has progressive muscular dystrophy and doctors advised her against using a sperm donor and carrying a child herself.

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NPR Ed
1:24 pm
Tue July 7, 2015

How One Israeli Educator Turned His School Around

Principal Ali Shalalha stands at the entrance of the high school. Though the school has closed for summer, it's filled with students who are studying for exams.
Tanya Habjouqa for NPR

Originally published on Tue July 7, 2015 6:32 pm

In a small town perched on a steep mountain in northern Israel, Ali Shalalha has managed a remarkable achievement.

Fifteen years ago, only 12 percent of seniors at Beit Jann Comprehensive School passed the exams that are the prerequisite for higher education in Israel. Last year, and the year before, every single senior passed.

Beit Jann ranks second now in the high school graduation exams, known as bagrut, for all of Israel. This year, Shalalha — the school's principal — is hoping for first.

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Parallels
5:07 am
Sun July 5, 2015

Israel And The West Bank Through Fresh Eyes

The Weinfeld Family, 2009. Photographer Frederic Brenner, who took this photo, created This Place, an exhibit that features the work of 12 internationally acclaimed photographers in Israel and the West Bank.
Frederic Brenner/Courtesy of Howard Greenberg Gallery

Originally published on Sun July 5, 2015 12:59 pm

A dozen internationally acclaimed photographers were set loose in Israel and the West Bank. Most had never been in either place before. The aim was to try to see anew a part of the world that's been thoroughly photographed, long mythologized and often fought over.

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Middle East
4:39 pm
Mon June 22, 2015

U.N. Report Finds Israel, Hamas Possibly Committed War Crimes In Gaza

Originally published on Tue June 23, 2015 2:10 pm

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

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Parallels
10:07 am
Sun June 21, 2015

Israel Bets On Recycled Water To Meet Its Growing Thirst

Farmer Efi Cohen inspects almond trees on a kibbutz south of Jerusalem. The Israeli government says it's safe to use treated sewage water to irrigate tree fruit, but not all crops.
Emily Harris NPR

Originally published on Sun June 21, 2015 10:20 pm

Recycling sewage water has helped free Israel, a desert country, from depending on rain.

Treated sewage water provides close to a quarter of Israel's demand for water, right behind desalination, the other major process that has eased Israel's fear of drought.

But making that water — from toilets, showers, and factories — clean enough to use is challenging.

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Parallels
12:33 pm
Thu June 18, 2015

In The West Bank, Facebook Posts Can Get You Arrested, Or Worse

The indictment against 24-year-old Palestinian Ayman Mahareeq says comments he posted on Facebook illegally insulted the West Bank police force and the Palestinian Authority, which governs the West Bank.
Emily Harris NPR

Originally published on Thu June 18, 2015 8:58 pm

In the waiting room of a courthouse in the West Bank city of Ramallah last week, a clerk called defendants to pick up their files while loudspeaker announcements blared courtroom assignments.

A skinny young man in jeans and a blue T-shirt waited to hear his name. Ayman Mahareeq, who just turned 24, faced charges of insulting officials based on comments he'd posted on Facebook.

"One of my posts was about how Palestinian security forces act whenever Israeli forces enter the West Bank," Mahareeq says. "They withdraw and hide."

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Parallels
5:08 am
Thu June 18, 2015

Why Israel Lets Qatar Give Millions To Hamas

Qatari official Mohammed al-Emadi (left) visits Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh in Gaza City on March 12. Israel has accused Qatar of financing Hamas weaponry but still allows Qatar to spends millions in Gaza on aid and development projects.
Ashraf Amra APA/Landov

Originally published on Thu June 18, 2015 2:05 pm

This is a story about Middle East cooperation that seems to defy all the rules.

Israel's long-standing policy has been to isolate Hamas, the Islamist group that dominates the Gaza Strip. And Israel has long accused Qatar of financing Hamas, including providing money used for rockets fired into Israel during last summer's war.

So why, then, would Israel permit a Qatari official to visit Gaza and spend tens of millions of dollars in the coastal territory?

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Parallels
8:09 am
Sun June 14, 2015

Israel Bringing Its Years Of Desalination Experience To California

The Hadera desalination plant is one of five built in Israel after a severe drought in the 1990s. Along with conservation efforts and water recycling, the plants have helped end Israel's chronic water shortages.
Emily Harris NPR

Originally published on Tue June 16, 2015 2:05 pm

Taking the salt out of seawater helped Israel move from the constant threat of drought to a plentiful supply of water, but Israel has learned that desalination is not the only answer.

Ben-Gurion University's Institute for Water Research is deep in Israel's Negev desert and away from the sea. Prof. Jack Gilron, head of the Department of Desalination and Water Treatment, and other researchers here test concepts in desalination to see if they might hold promise for industrial development.

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Middle East
5:07 pm
Fri June 5, 2015

Risky Gazans Begin Digging Out Smuggling Tunnels To Egypt Again

A young man walks by holes made by the Egyptian military to destroy smuggling tunnels connected to Gaza. The demolitions have put pressure on Hamas, the militant group that controls Gaza and has long counted on smuggling tunnels as its lifeline.
Ahmed Abd El Latif AP

Originally published on Sat June 6, 2015 10:57 pm

Just a couple of years ago, Gazans could get lukewarm Kentucky Fried Chicken — and nearly anything else — delivered from Egypt through commercial smuggling tunnels dug under the Gaza-Egyptian border.

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Middle East
4:19 pm
Tue June 2, 2015

Hamas Forces Kill Islamic State Supporter In Gaza

Originally published on Tue June 2, 2015 6:53 pm

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

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Parallels
9:39 am
Sat May 30, 2015

Under Cover Of Conflict, Hamas Killed Palestinians, Amnesty Alleges

Armed Palestinian masked militants push back a crowd of worshippers outside a mosque in Gaza City on August 22, 2014, before executing more than a dozen men for allegedly helping Israel during its six-week assault on the Palestinian enclave. This week, Amnesty International released a report saying that Hamas was responsible for these and other killings.
STR AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat May 30, 2015 2:20 pm

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.

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Parallels
3:59 am
Mon May 25, 2015

Trying To Organize A Marathon, An Arab-Israeli Woman Runs Into Opposition

Haneen Radi, an Arab Israeli, wants to organize a marathon for her town of Tira, but was told the run couldn't include women. When she insisted, she received threats, and the back window of her car was shot out.
Emily Harris NPR

Originally published on Sun May 31, 2015 10:26 pm

Haneen Radi learned to run by walking.

"I used to walk," says the 36-year-old mother of four. "I saw people running and said, I'll try that."

Radi took off. In the decade since then she's finished eight marathons, and she now coaches a girls' running club with 80 members.

"I'm another person when running," Radi says. "I'm happy, I'm smiling."

A few months ago, Radi decided to organize a marathon in Tira, her hometown in northern Israel.

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Parallels
7:17 pm
Wed May 20, 2015

For Israel, Soccer Becomes A Geopolitical Football

FIFA President Sepp Blatter kicks a ball during the inauguration of a football stadium in the village of Dura al-Qari near the West Bank city of Ramallah on Wednesday. Blatter said he is on a "mission of peace" to resolve tensions between the Israeli and Palestinian soccer federations.
Majdi Mohammed AP

Originally published on Wed May 20, 2015 8:39 pm

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has moved to the soccer field. Next week, at the annual meeting of FIFA — the international body governing football — its 209 members are scheduled to vote on a proposal to suspend Israel from international play.

Palestinian soccer officials put the proposal on FIFA's agenda, saying Israeli policies hurt Palestinian players and the sport's development and break FIFA's own rules.

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Parallels
7:51 am
Sat May 16, 2015

Will Israel Charge Soldiers In Gaza Civilian Deaths?

Displaced Palestinians seek shelter in the courtyard of a United Nations-run elementary school in Jabaliya, a northern Gaza town, in July 2014 — shortly before the school was hit by what the UN says was Israeli artillery. Israel has opened a criminal investigation into the attack.
Emily Harris NPR

Originally published on Sun May 17, 2015 10:44 am

By the end of July during last summer's war in the Gaza Strip, more than 3,000 Palestinians crowded into a United Nations-run elementary school in Jabaliya, a northern Gaza town. They had moved there for temporary shelter after the Israeli military warned them to leave their homes.

An hour before dawn on July 30, explosions shook the classrooms and the courtyard, all packed with people.

Mahmoud Jaser was camped outside with his sons.

"We were sleeping when the attack started. As we woke up, it got worse," he said.

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Parallels
5:42 pm
Thu May 14, 2015

Why Everyone's Talking About Israel's New Justice Minister

Ayelet Shaked of the right-wing Jewish Home party, shown here on May 6, is Israel's new justice minister. During her two years in parliament, she called for bringing more conservative judges to Israel's highest court.
Gali Tibbon AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri May 15, 2015 3:33 pm

Among the faces in Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's new right-wing government, one is drawing particular attention: Ayelet Shaked, the new justice minister.

Shaked is secular, lives in liberal Tel Aviv, and has a background in the high-tech industry. Ari Soffer, the managing editor of Israel National News, calls her a patriot.

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Parallels
3:43 am
Mon May 11, 2015

With Small Shifts, Israel Eases Restrictions On Some Palestinians

For many commuters, standing in the parking lot after driving to work wouldn't be noteworthy. But for rheumatologist Anas Muhana, it's a big deal. He's one of only 100 Palestinian West Bank residents now permitted to drive his own car, with its white-and-green plates, to his job in Israel. The Israeli military banned Palestinian-plated cars for the past 15 years.
Emily Harris NPR

Originally published on Mon May 11, 2015 11:16 am

Early one morning a couple of weeks ago, rheumatologist Anas Muhana got into his 2008 tan Mercedes jeep, turned on the ignition and drove from his home in Ramallah to his work at Al-Makassed Hospital in East Jerusalem.

It was the first time he had been allowed to do this in 15 years.

Muhana is Palestinian. His car has a green and white Palestinian license plate. And in 2000, at the start of the second intifada, Israel stopped allowing cars with Palestinian plates to cross checkpoints from the West Bank.

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Middle East
5:38 am
Thu May 7, 2015

Netanyahu Forms Coalition Government After Tough Negotiations

Originally published on Thu May 7, 2015 2:19 pm

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

World
5:16 pm
Wed May 6, 2015

Prime Minister Netanyahu Forms Coalition Before Midnight Deadline

Originally published on Wed May 6, 2015 7:55 pm

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

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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Middle East
5:02 am
Tue May 5, 2015

From Israel To ISIS: How A Search For A Safe Haven Took A Wrong Turn

African migrants, many from Eritrea and Sudan, raise their hands as part of a protest at the Holot detention center in southern Israel on Feb. 17, 2014. Tesfai Kidane, an Eritrean who left the center last year and returned to Africa, was later killed by the Islamic State in Libya. It was not clear how he wound up in Libya.
Oded Balilty AP

Originally published on Tue May 5, 2015 4:37 pm

What happened to Tesfai Kidane?

The Eritrean migrant came to a tragic end in Libya at the hands of the Islamic State, but his family isn't sure what path he took to get there or exactly where he was headed. At a time when unstable states are creating floods of refugees in the Middle East and North Africa, Kidane's tale is just one of many filled with random twists and turns and unexpected outcomes.

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