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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7:17pm

Wed May 20, 2015
Parallels

For Israel, Soccer Becomes A Geopolitical Football

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

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

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has moved to the soccer field. Next week, at the annual meeting of FIFA โ€” the international body governing football โ€” 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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7:58am

Sat May 16, 2015
Parallels

Will Israel Charge Soldiers In Gaza Civilian Deaths?

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

Displaced Palestinians seek shelter in the courtyard of a United Nations-run elementary school in Jabaliya, a northern Gaza town, in July 2014 รขย€ย” 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

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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5:23pm

Thu May 14, 2015
Parallels

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

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

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

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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3:43am

Mon May 11, 2015
Parallels

With Small Shifts, Israel Eases Restrictions On Some Palestinians

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

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

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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5:59pm

Mon May 4, 2015
Parallels

Israeli Soldiers: Lax Rules In Gaza War Led To Indiscriminate Fire

Originally published on Tue May 5, 2015 2:02 am

Palestinian girls walk past buildings in Gaza City that were destroyed during the 50-day war between Israel and Hamas militants in the summer of 2014. Dozens of Israeli soldiers have now given testimonials saying that indiscriminate firing was tolerated, or even encouraged at times.
Thomas Coex AFP/Getty Images

More than 60 Israeli soldiers who took part in last summer's war in Gaza have offered firsthand combat stories. Many said they felt their orders went too far, leading to indiscriminate fire and Palestinian civilian deaths.

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6:20pm

Wed April 29, 2015
Goats and Soda

Israeli Dads Welcome Surrogate-Born Baby In Nepal On Earthquake Day

Originally published on Thu April 30, 2015 12:19 am

Now this is an international baby: Born to a surrogate mom in Nepal (who was implanted with an egg from a South African donor) and now living in Israel with his parents, Amir Vogel Greengold (left) and Gilad Greengold.
Emily Harris NPR

The sperm came from Israel. It was frozen and flown to Thailand, where a South African egg donor awaited. After the egg was fertilized, the embryo traveled to Nepal and was implanted in the Indian woman who agreed to serve as the surrogate mother.

And roughly nine months later, there was a big, bouncing earthquake.

The world of international surrogacy is ... pretty complicated.

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5:06pm

Fri April 24, 2015
Parallels

Clearing The Tangled Path For Land Ownership In The West Bank

Originally published on Fri April 24, 2015 6:55 pm

One of the first homes going up on land bought and sold as part of a Canadian-Palestinian investment firm's effort to properly register plots. Much land in the West Bank is not registered and has no title deed, creating problems for economic development.
Emily Harris NPR

High on a West Bank hilltop, the extended Dissi family gathered on a recent weekend for a day out in the Palestinian countryside.

Aunts, uncles and cousins came to see the half-built weekend home of Taysier Dissi, an electrician and father of three. The concrete-block shell, with windows set and stairs roughed in, is placed just right for the view.

This will be the family's getaway from their home in the cramped confines of Jerusalem's often tense Old City. Dissi paid about $30,000 for one-third of an acre here, bought from a Palestinian-Canadian company, UCI.

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10:48am

Mon April 13, 2015
Goats and Soda

And The Fate Of The Hermaphrodite Goat Is...

Originally published on Mon April 13, 2015 3:23 pm

In Gaza, all hermaphroditic goats will go to heaven. On Sunday, authorities ordered the slaughter of this animal โ€” which had male sex organs and udders โ€” lest people mistakenly believe that its milk had special powers. And if another hermaphrodite goat turns up, it too will face the knife.
Emily Harris/NPR

The male milk-giving goat of Gaza has been turned into meat.

Owner Jaser Abu Said sold the goat for the 400 Jordanian dinars (close to $600) that he and his business partner spent on it. He found a buyer willing to slaughter the goat for meat. And he stuck around to witness the goat's demise personally, along with representatives from the Gaza government.

Why government officials at a goat slaughtering โ€” which happens pretty frequently in Gaza?

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7:25am

Sun April 12, 2015
Parallels

With Few Choices, Gaza Family Makes Bombed-Out Shell Its Home

Originally published on Sun April 12, 2015 6:18 pm

The ground floor walls of the Otaish family's home are gone and the rest of the house is also bombed out, but they have decided to live in what's left of it.
Emily Harris NPR

In Gaza, reconstruction is happening, but slowly. Months after the war between Israel and Hamas, the main United Nations organization tracking progress, UNRWA, says fewer than half the homes it has assessed as "damaged" have been repaired, and not one of the over 9,000 totally destroyed homes has been rebuilt.

Facing few choices, some families have decided to live in what's left of their bombed out homes.

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3:05pm

Fri April 10, 2015
Goats and Soda

A Hermaphrodite Goat Could Be The Ultimate Scapegoat

Originally published on Mon April 13, 2015 9:23 am

The owners of this Gaza goat say it is a hermaphrodite: male private parts and an udder.
Emily Harris/NPR

The goat trade is a good business in Gaza. Every couple of weeks, Abdel Rahman and his business partner, Jaser Abu Said, buy half a dozen young goats imported from Israel and sell them for meat.

Last time, they got something unusual. Of the five goats they bought, for about $600 each, one was a hermaphrodite.

By all appearances, it was male, with a large build and visible male sex organs. But it also had udders. And gave milk.

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