In June of 2015, I went to Israel for two weeks with my parents and younger brother. For as long as I can remember I have been fascinated with Israel; as a cross roads for the three major monotheistic religions, as the ‘land of milk and honey', for its natural beauty, for the social and political tension, and in more recent years appalled by the violent oppression of people.
As a tourist, I felt conflicted to be in such a contested place. I am proud of my Jewish roots and was filled with joy during my brother’s Bar Mitzvah at the Southern Wall. I felt connected to my ancestors as I stood atop Masada. But I was horrified by the heavy presence of the Israeli Defense Force and heavily gendered Western Wall, and couldn’t contain my tears as we drove along the West Bank Barrier. How have we not learned from history? How could Jewish people, a group in a constant state of exodus, treat another group of peoples with the same hate and persecution they have endured? It is my hope that compassion and love can guide the way to peace, but I am not naïve, I know that direct action is also necessary. I am thankful to have both Palestinian and Israeli friends to educate me about the tactics they believe are necessary for a better tomorrow and to learn how to best be an ally.
These are a collection of 35 mm colour photographs taken during the trip. I hope to continue photographing in this region while working more closely with individuals and communities in both Israel and Palestine. Never before has a place and the people there touched my heart so deeply. I know I will be back soon.