Picking olives with Vita, who has worked in the fields since she was 12, alongside several other jobs she does to feed her family and send her older daughter to university. At this time of the year she organizes teams to harvest olives all across the Valle d’Itria, drawing on her extensive contacts, most of whom are women in a similar situation.
Jerusalem, Israel – 8th of March, 2014: A sticker on a light pole by the road which marks the border between east and west Jerusalem admonishes readers to “not even think about a Jewish woman”. Aiming to dissuade Arab men from approaching Jewish women, the sticker is widely visible across mixed cities in Israel and comes from Lehava, a Jewish organization dedicated to “preventing assimilation in the Holy Land”, mostly by opposing mixed marriages both in theory and in practice. Alongside the stern warning, the sticker bears the organization’s hotline to which one can “report” cases of assimilation.
Jerusalem, Israel – 9th of June, 2013: The womens’ prayer group Women of the Wall held their monthly prayers at the Kotel. After the previous month’s events, which saw thousands of religious seminary girls gather in a counter-prayer and a few hundreds of angry haredi youth causing lots of trouble, this month’s prayer tool place peacefully, also thanks to a massive deployment of Israeli policemen which physically escorted the Women of the Wall to and out of the women’s section of the Kotel, and established several barriers to protect them.
Jerusalem, Israel – 10th of May, 2013: The prayer group Nashot HaKotel (the Women of the Wall) returned to the Kotel (Jerusalem’s Western Wall) to hold their Rosh Hodesh prayers, marking the beginning of the new Jewish month. In a challenge to what they describe as the domination of orthodoxy over contemporary Judaism, these women read the Torah aloud, and pray wearing a tallit (prayer shawls), two practices that are traditionally reserved for men.
Issawiya, East Jerusalem – 5th of April, 2013: Israeli riot policemen arresting a shabab (Palestinian youth) after violent clashes broke out following a police raid.