March 27, 2011
Eighteen: Portraits of young Arabs living in Israel
Natan Dvir, an Israeli Jewish man, photographed and talked with 18-year-old men and women who are part of the minority Arab population that continues to live within a country that is largely defined by opposing religious beliefs.
Although I grew up and spent most of my photographic career in Israel, I came to realize I did not truly know or understand its Arab society — over a fifth of the population consisting of hundreds of thousands of families who stayed within Israel's borders after it was established in 1948. This large minority, which is currently experiencing a challenging identity crisis, has been somewhat forgotten amidst the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In a highly political environment, I became interested in the stories of these people living as a minority in a country defined by its majority's religion. I wish to confront and dispute the widespread misconceptions and stereotypes of the people within my own country who I was brought up to consider more as foes rather than as allies. I decided to focus on Arab men and women at the age of eighteen, a crucial turning point in their lives, when they complete school, become legal adults, and earn the right to vote. Yet unlike their Jewish peers, most do not join the military. By photographing and portraying my so-called “enemy”, I hope to highlight the impact that cultural and internal conflict have had on these young men and women both individually and collectively.
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