Israel’s best press photo of 2017 is to be decided this week, with a selection of striking images showcasing some of the year’s most emotive subjects shortlisted for the award.
Prayers, protests and prime ministers all feature in this year’s best photojournalism and the photos will be exhibited in the Eretz Israel Museum from Friday until 20 January, after judges decide the ultimate winner on Thursday night.
Curators of the exhibit, called Local Testimony, had to choose from 7,000 entries, and said “hundreds” of photos were submitted showing the evacuation of Amona, an illegal Jewish settlement long fought over in the courts.
“On the other hand, only two people photographed the drama of the evacuation of the buildings in the Bedouin village of Um al-Hiran in the Negev, as the area was closed to the media,” said curator Vardi Kahana.
“The photographs of one photographer who documented the event in real time assisted in analysing the event which ended in a double-fold tragedy,” when village resident Yacoub Abu Al-Qia’an, was shot by police while driving away from the scene of the protest, only for his car to career into the police sergeant Erez Levi. Both men were killed.
AHMAD GHARABLI /AFP (part of a series)
On 14 July, three Israeli Arabs, residents of Umm al-Fahm, shot and killed two Border Police officers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque square. In response, metal detectors were installed at the gates leading to Temple Mount. Members of the Waqf opposed the move, instructing the Muslims to refuse to go to Temple Mount until the detectors were removed, calling them to pray demonstratively outside the compound.
Violent confrontations between Palestinians and police in East Jerusalem and the West Bank led the cabinet to remove the metal detectors and replace them with cameras. Members of the Waqf opposed this move as well and violent conflicts continued in the course of which four Palestinians were killed. On 21 July a terrorist entered the settlement of Halamish, murdered three members of the Salomon family and severely injured the mother. He claimed that he did this for Al-Aqsa. The crisis lasted for two weeks and eventually Israel removed all security measures from the compound. Jerusalem, 14-27 July 2017
ZIV KOREN Polaris Images
Knesset Member Oren Hazan pushing himself into a selfie photo with US President Donald Trump, during the official ceremony on the occasion of his first visit to Israel. Ben Gurion Airport, 22 May 2017
OREN BEN HAKOON / Israel Hayom
Break during the dress rehearsal for the annual Independence Day ceremony in honour of outstanding soldiers The President’s Residence, Jerusalem, 27 April 2017
Yeshiva students celebrating Purim. Bnei Brak, 12 March 2017
ABIR SULTAN / EPA (part of a series)
Girls and women covered in black from head to toe is becoming a common scene in recent years. The burqa is a required garment for women in some Islamic countries, however several Jewish communities that live in Mea Shearim, Beit Shemesh and Bnei Brak, adopted this dress code based on the belief that modesty will bring redemption. Mea Shearim Neighborhood, Jerusalem, 6 February – 5 March 2017
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu touring southern Tel Aviv. Tel Aviv, 31 August 2017
OHAD ZWIGENBERG / Yedioth Ahronoth
Ultra-Orthodox from the Hapeleg Hayerushalmi (followers of Rav Shmuel Auerbach) demonstrating against enlistment in the IDF. Jerusalem, 23 March 2017.
Ohad snapped this incredible image during one of the strictly Orthodox demonstrations against the arrest of young yeshiva students for refusing to enlist in the IDF. “The demonstration was quite ordinary and routine,” he said. “They take place every few days in Jerusalem. That day I had had a fight with my then girlfriend on the phone. I was in a bad mood so I left the house and went to the demo, to shoot for me, not for the newspaper. I saw the yeshiva students sitting there on the road in front of the headlights of cars blocked by their demonstration, which created incredible lighting with the water. I knelt down between the first two cars. A split second before I took the photo, another photographer took a photo. I remember feeling the flash in my eye. I already saw the situation as special. It was like a hallucination, a scene from a Hollywood movie. In fact this picture very much reflects my feeling that day. I felt like I was in a storm of emotions and this picture is very turbulent. The water cannon shooting blue water combines with the car headlights and the blue light of the police sirens behind the demonstrators. It illuminates the sky and all the water bursting from all sides together created a one-time effect that is impossible to recreate. A second after I took it I got water on the lens which broke the camera, and moments later the police were able to disperse the demonstrators.
For me, the picture speaks for itself. It is for moments like this that I work hard every day.”
YANIV NADAV for Flash 90
Friday prayers outside Temple Mount, in protest against placing metal detectors at its entrance. Salah al-Din Road, Jerusalem, 21 July 2017