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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Middle East
2:14 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

In A Crowded Gaza, A Growing Sense That Nowhere Is Safe

Originally published on Tue July 22, 2014 6:17 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

I'm Robert Siegel. And we begin this hour with developments in Gaza, Israel and Cairo. Secretary of State John Kerry is in Egypt trying to forge a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas.

(SOUNDBITE OF SPEECH)

JOHN KERRY: The loss of lives and the humanitarian impact is really heartbreaking. And we're joining our international partners in reiterating our call for an immediate end to the fighting and a return to the cease-fire that was reached in 2012.

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Middle East
2:18 pm
Mon July 21, 2014

Israel Targets Tunnels, But Hits Elsewhere — Including Gaza Hospital

Originally published on Mon July 21, 2014 4:35 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Cairo today for talks on ending the bloodshed in the Gaza Strip. Palestinian casualties have spiraled. More than 550 people have died in two weeks, mostly civilians according to health officials there. The Israeli military says 25 of its soldiers have been killed since it launched a ground invasion last week. The military says it's targeting tunnels militants use to attack Israel. But today, an Israeli strike hit a hospital in central Gaza, killing people in the intensive care unit.

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Middle East
8:37 am
Sun July 20, 2014

Gaza Evacuees Crowd Into Schools Remade As Shelters

Originally published on Sun July 20, 2014 10:08 am

Transcript

ARUN RATH, HOST:

Hamas militants fired rockets into Israel today, more rockets, after the Israeli government announced it was expanding ground operations in the Gaza Strip. Thousands of Palestinians continue to flee their homes. Early this morning, some, still wearing their pajamas, left in haste to take shelter in local schools. Those schools are already packed beyond capacity. NPR's Emily Harris reports on the increasingly dire situation.

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Parallels
3:47 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 5:54 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
4:40 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 6:16 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
12:14 pm
Sun July 13, 2014

Palestinians Seek Shelter At Supply-Strapped U.N. Schools

Palestinian families travel to a United Nations school to seek shelter after evacuating their homes near the Israel-Gaza border Sunday. Israel has been warning residents to leave.
Mahmud Hams AFP/Getty Images

Residents in Northern Gaza have been fleeing their homes in anticipation of a new Israeli assault, as the exchange of Hamas rockets and Israeli airstrikes enters its sixth day. A brief ground action conducted by Israel Sunday morning came as Israel warns that a larger campaign may be coming.

But United Nations schools in Gaza, which expect to shelter tens of thousands of Palestinians, say they're short on resources to help provide for the evacuees.

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Middle East
2:11 pm
Fri July 11, 2014

By Laying Waste To Houses, Israeli Strikes May Lay Seeds For New Rage

Originally published on Fri July 11, 2014 6:21 pm

Israeli air strikes on houses in the Gaza Strip have killed families and flattened the homes of neighbors, even as they target Hamas militants. One Palestinian human rights advocate says that, with these attacks, Israel is destroying a safe future for itself.

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

Middle East
2:02 pm
Thu July 10, 2014

Deaths Mount Into The Dozens As Gaza Strip Bombardment Builds

Originally published on Thu July 10, 2014 5:04 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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Parallels
1:07 am
Thu July 3, 2014

With Dirt And A Vision, Palestinian Architects Break The Mold

ShamsArd, a Palestinian architecture firm, uses packed earth to construct its environmentally friendly homes.
Emily Harris NPR

Originally published on Thu July 3, 2014 9:31 am

The city of Jericho sits in the hot, flat Jordan Valley down the hill from Jerusalem. Jericho has bragging rights as one of the oldest towns on Earth. But one of its newest homes looks like it might have arrived from outer space.

Ahmad Daoud hired a firm of young Palestinian architects to build this house. Like Jericho's original homes, it is built of dirt. This one has a contemporary twist, though: It's constructed with earth compacted in bags that are then stacked and plastered over.

Daoud loves the domed rooms, the nod to the past and the environmental advantages.

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Middle East
4:52 am
Tue July 1, 2014

Israeli Military Responds After 3 Missing Teens Found Dead

Originally published on Tue July 1, 2014 12:24 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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Parallels
3:19 am
Sat June 21, 2014

In Search For Missing Teens, Israel Cracks Down On Hamas

Israeli soldiers patrol in the West Bank village of Beit Furik, near Nablus, on Friday. They are searching for three missing Israeli teenagers believed kidnapped. Israel has detained more than 300 Palestinians in the search over the past week; the military says a majority of them are connected to Hamas.
Jaafar Ashtiyeh AFP/Getty Images

In the week since Israel's search to find three teenagers began, operation "Bring Back Our Brothers" has expanded to include a crackdown on Hamas and other suspected militants.

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Middle East
2:20 pm
Fri June 20, 2014

Brimming With Extras, Palestinian Government Feels Unity Pains

Originally published on Fri June 20, 2014 5:08 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

What do you do with an extra 40,000 employees? That's a problem, right now, for the Palestinian Authority. A deal ending the long split between two Palestinian factions means that they are now forming a government together - Fatah and Hamas under the same roof. The thing is, each faction has its own workers who are supposed to perform the same jobs. NPR's Emily Harris went to Gaza and met two men, local cops whose jobs are now at stake.

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Middle East
3:24 pm
Mon June 16, 2014

Teens Disappear In The West Bank, And Israel Blames Hamas

Originally published on Mon June 16, 2014 6:20 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
5:57 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
2:22 pm
Mon June 2, 2014

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

Originally published on Mon June 2, 2014 4:50 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.

Religion
3:17 pm
Mon May 26, 2014

Pope Francis Ends Historic Mideast Trip

Originally published on Mon May 26, 2014 3:43 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.

Middle East
4:34 am
Mon May 26, 2014

Pope Francis Wraps Up 3-Day Trip To Middle East

Originally published on Mon May 26, 2014 5:23 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.

Parallels
1:06 am
Fri May 23, 2014

Palestinians Appeal To Pope For Help In Land Disputes With Israel

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

Originally published on Fri May 23, 2014 8:25 am

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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Middle East
10:55 am
Sun May 18, 2014

Unity Is A Difficult Mission For Christians In Israel

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

Originally published on Mon May 19, 2014 11:58 am

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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The Salt
3:28 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
2:00 pm
Wed May 14, 2014

To Make It Stateside, Gaza Strip Exports Must Pass Israeli Obstacles

Originally published on Wed May 14, 2014 5:59 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

People living in cities in the Northeast may find mint, chives and basil in their grocery stores that have been grown in the Gaza Strip. Despite tight Israeli restrictions on exports from the impoverished Palestinian enclave, Gazan farmers have started building a U.S. market.

But as NPR's Emily Harris reports, the obstacles to building a real export economy are hard to overcome.

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Parallels
1:07 am
Tue May 13, 2014

Poverty Among Holocaust Survivors Hits A Nerve In Israel

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

Originally published on Tue May 20, 2014 9:37 am

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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News
2:21 pm
Wed April 23, 2014

Palestinian Talks Could Heal Leadership Divide And Anger Israelis

Originally published on Wed April 23, 2014 9:06 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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World
4:16 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 9:52 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
2:02 pm
Thu April 3, 2014

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

Originally published on Thu April 3, 2014 5:34 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
1:09 pm
Thu April 3, 2014

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

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

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

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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Middle East
2:05 pm
Thu March 27, 2014

Israeli Prisoner Release Steps Toward Peace And Draws Controversy

Originally published on Thu March 27, 2014 5:03 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.

Middle East
5:50 am
Sat March 22, 2014

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

Originally published on Sat March 22, 2014 9:18 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.

Europe
5:59 am
Sun March 9, 2014

Russian Troops Continue Movements In Crimea

Originally published on Sun March 9, 2014 10:00 am

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

Europe
2:23 pm
Mon March 3, 2014

Western Diplomats Visit Kiev, Bringing Few Answers With Them

Originally published on Mon March 3, 2014 5:19 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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