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
9:07 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 9:20 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
8:03 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 1:05 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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Parallels
9:00 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 1:20 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
6:17 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 7:39 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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Middle East
4:02 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 3:37 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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Parallels
4:41 pm
Mon May 4, 2015

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

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

Originally published on Tue May 5, 2015 1:02 am

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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Goats and Soda
5:20 pm
Wed April 29, 2015

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

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

Originally published on Wed April 29, 2015 11:19 pm

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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Parallels
3:55 pm
Fri April 24, 2015

Clearing The Tangled Path For Land Ownership In The West Bank

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

Originally published on Fri April 24, 2015 5:55 pm

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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Parallels
7:18 am
Sun March 1, 2015

In Israel, Jewish Divorce Is Granted Only By Husband's Permission

In Gett, the character Viviane Ansalem wants a divorce but her husband will not give permission. In Israel, if you're Jewish, even if you're not religious, you have to be divorced by Jewish law.
Courtesy Music Box Films

Originally published on Tue March 3, 2015 2:07 pm

In Israel, religious law governs family matters.

For a Jewish divorce, an Orthodox rabbi oversees a ritual that begins with the husband placing a folded decree, called a get or gett, into the wife's cupped hands. But that paper can be hard to obtain, because the husband can refuse to grant the divorce.

A new Israeli film playing in the U.S. shows how patriarchal Jewish divorce laws can trap even secular women for years.

The film is a drama called Gett: The Trial of Viviane Ansalem. Viviane wants a divorce but needs her husband's permission.

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Middle East
4:09 am
Thu February 12, 2015

Arab-Israeli Parties Join Forces In Upcoming Israeli Election

Originally published on Thu February 12, 2015 8:09 am

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