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Orly Halpern

Jerusalem, Israel
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About Orly
Orly Halpern is a print journalist, on-air TV and radio reporter, field producer and researcher based in Jerusalem, Israel.
Orly Halpern grew up in Orange County, California and Tucson, Arizona. A visit to the Middle East as a teenager enticed her to return as an adult. Since moving to Jerusalem and becoming a journalist, her reporting has focused on the Arab-Israeli conflict. But in 2003 she traveled by a string of taxis to Baghdad where she spent a year living in and reporting from Iraq, serving as Baghdad correspondent of Canada's Globe and Mail. (During that time she and a colleague were kidnapped by insurgents near Falluja, but thanks to her knowledge of Arabic and her familiarity with Arab culture she was able to talk their way free.) Since then she has traveled across the Arab and Muslim world to learn and report on its people and politics.

Today Ms. Halpern continues to report from the region as a freelance journalist. Her reports have appeared in many newspapers and magazines and on radio and television. The outlets include TIME magazine, the Washington Post, France24, Euronews, CBC, US News and World Report, Haaretz newspaper (Israel), the Jerusalem Post, Dallas Morning News, San Francisco Chronicle, Christian Science Monitor, McClatchy Newspapers, Hadassah magazine, and Homemakers (Canada). During the Second Lebanon War she reported for US News and was an analyst on Fox News. She has reported from Africa, including Rwanda, Ethiopia, Tunisia, Ghana and Egypt and from Afghanistan, Qatar, Bahrain, Turkey, Jordan, Egypt, Iraq, the Palestinian Territories and Israel.
Arabic English Spanish
Video Package (Web / Broadcast) Audio package (Radio / Podcast) Interview (Video / Broadcast)
Politics Current Affairs Technology

In Jerusalem neighborhoods bound together by terror, anger and trepidation about what comes next

29 Jan 2023  |  crescentcityjewishnews.com
In Jerusalem, following a deadly terrorist attack in Neve Yaakov that killed seven people, including Eli and Natali Mizrahi, the city is gripped by fear and anger. The attack, the worst in over a decade, came after Israeli troops killed nine in a West Bank raid. Prime Minister Netanyahu announced measures targeting terrorists' families, and 42 arrests were made. The assailant, Kheiri Al-Qam, was killed by Israeli troops. Netanyahu's right-wing government faces pressure, with Public Security Minister Ben-Gvir, known for his hardline stance, being confronted by residents. The Palestinian Authority may provide benefits to Al-Qam's family, while Netanyahu's office ordered the sealing and destruction of Al-Qam's apartment building.

LGBTQ Israelis fear setbacks as homophobic parties win a place in Netanyahu’s coalition

15 Nov 2022  |  jewishjournal.org
LGBTQ Israelis are expressing fear and concern as a coalition of far-right and religious parties, known for their homophobic stances, have gained significant power in the Israeli government following the recent elections. These parties, including Noam, Otzma Yehudit, and National Union, along with the haredi Orthodox parties Shas and United Torah Judaism, are expected to form the most right-wing conservative, religious government in Israel's history. There is a widespread fear that the new government will roll back recent advancements in LGBTQ rights, such as recognition of same-sex marriages performed abroad, adoption rights, and protections against conversion therapy. The Supreme Court's role as a defender of minority rights is also under threat, with the incoming government planning to pass legislation that would undermine the court's authority. Despite assurances from Benjamin Netanyahu that the status quo regarding LGBTQ rights will be maintained, many activists are preparing to fight against any regressive measures.

A silver lining of Israel’s political turmoil: Naftali Bennett’s neighbors can finally get their driveways back

29 Jun 2022  |  forward.com
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett's decision to dissolve his government has brought relief to his neighbors in Ra’anana, who have endured disruptive demonstrations for almost a year. The protests were primarily from supporters of Bennett's predecessor, Benjamin Netanyahu. Bennett's residence was heavily fortified due to security concerns, causing inconvenience to local residents. The Official Residence of the Prime Minister in Jerusalem has remained vacant since Netanyahu's departure, with Bennett choosing not to move in due to needed renovations. Yair Lapid, who will lead the country until new elections, also cannot move into the official residence due to ongoing renovations and will instead stay in an adjacent apartment. The situation reflects the political turmoil in Israel and the strong visual symbolism of the official residence.

FRANCE 24 News: Live report from Jerusalem on politically-motivated stabbing attack by Palestinian against Israeli. One of many such on-air reports.

08 Mar 2016  |  www.france24.com
A US tourist was killed in a knife attack in Tel Aviv during Joe Biden's visit to Israel. The assailant, from Qalqilya in the occupied West Bank, was shot dead by Israeli police after stabbing multiple people in a popular tourist area and a restaurant. The violence coincided with Biden's meeting with former Israeli president Shimon Peres and precedes his scheduled meetings with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas. Despite recent tensions between US President Barack Obama and Netanyahu, discussions are expected to focus on a new 10-year defense aid package for Israel and the fight against the Islamic State group. Biden's visit will not include any major new peace initiatives.

First-person piece for Washington Post’s Outlook section. Editors requested a look at Israel’s corona “Green Pass” program.

Reporting from mixed Jewish-Arab city of Lod during mob riots in May 2021. Was TIME magazine’s lead story in print edition of June 6th.

27 May 2021  |  Time
The article discusses the heightened tensions and violence in Lod, a mixed Arab-Jewish city in Israel, which has become a new front in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Jewish settlers from the West Bank, armed and with military experience, have come to Lod to support Jewish residents against Arab youths who began rioting. The situation escalated with the killing of an Arab man by Jewish nationalists, leading to further violence and unrest. The article highlights the deep-seated issues of coexistence, housing discrimination, and the Israeli government's policies that have contributed to the current state of affairs. It also touches on the broader context of the conflict, including the events at al-Aqsa Mosque in East Jerusalem and the subsequent war with Gaza. The situation in Lod is a microcosm of the challenges facing Israeli society, where coexistence is under threat and the future of Arab-Jewish relations remains uncertain.

"FIRST PERSON / A dangerous ordeal amid the mayhem of Fallujah / Chronicle correspondent is kidnapped after being fired on" My article in The San Francisco Chronicle recounting being kidnapped by Iraqi rebels near Falluja in 2004.

09 Apr 2004  |  SFGATE
The article recounts a harrowing experience of journalists caught in a violent encounter near Fallujah, Iraq. While traveling, their vehicle was attacked by armed men who mistook them for intelligence agents. Despite their protests and identification as journalists, they were abducted and faced hostility and threats. The insurgents, identifying as mujahedeen, eventually realized their mistake after seeing press badges and released the journalists. The journalists were taken to a village leader's home, where they were questioned but not harmed. The leader, Abu Mujahed, expressed his views on the American presence in Iraq and the motive of oil. The journalists were later served a meal and discussed the situation with the mukhtar's family, who expressed their exhaustion with the occupation and the mujahedeen. The family insisted on escorting the journalists back to Baghdad for safety.

American Hostage; Negotiate or Not? CNN interviewed me about my own experience being kidnapped in Iraq in 2004 by Iraqi rebels.

19 Jan 2006  |  transcripts.cnn.com
The article discusses the situation of American freelance journalist Jill Carroll, who was taken hostage in Iraq on January 7th, 2006. Her captors threatened to kill her unless the U.S. released all female Iraqi prisoners by the next day. Jill's mother, Mary Beth Carroll, made a televised appeal for her daughter's release, emphasizing Jill's respect for the Iraqi people. The U.S. policy is not to negotiate with terrorists, but experts suggest that negotiation does not always mean concession. Former U.N. hostage negotiator Giandomenico Picco suggests using local actors in Iraq for negotiations. The White House considers Jill's return a priority, but the U.S. military maintains that it does not negotiate with terrorists. Orly Halpern, a journalist who was kidnapped and released in Iraq in 2004, shares her experience and insights, highlighting the importance of showing captors one's humanity and the potential influence of being a female captive in Iraqi society.

"Don't punish a country's progress" Radio news report from Jordan for 'Marketplace' about the so-called G-11 group, a club of lower-middle income countries, which called on rich countries no to turn off the spiget of aid once a poor country shows some progress.

18 May 2007  |  Marketplace
The G-11, a group of lower-middle income countries initiated by Jordanian King Abdullah II, is set to discuss the issue of declining foreign aid as these nations make progress. The group, which includes four presidents, two prime ministers, and a king, will meet at the Dead Sea to address the challenges posed by reduced aid, high oil prices, and large debts. Special advisor to the Jordanian king, Farouk Kasrawi, emphasizes the need for continued support even as countries succeed, arguing that becoming middle-income countries is beneficial for global trade and relations. The G-11 seeks debt forgiveness and increased foreign investment from industrialized nations, with Germany and Japan showing interest by sending observers to the summit.

"(Holocaust Historian) Bauer: It Could Happen Here" Article printed in 'Ha'aretz' newspaper. "What we have here between the Israelis and the Palestinians is an armed conflict - if one side becomes stronger there is a chance of genocide," Holocaust historian Yehuda Bauer told a group of visiting Danes in Jerusalem last week.

25 Jan 2017  |  www.haaretz.com
Yehuda Bauer, a renowned Holocaust historian, discussed the ongoing conflict between Israelis and Palestinians during a meeting with Danish visitors in Jerusalem. He highlighted the military capabilities of both sides, suggesting that their strength makes it unlikely for one side to completely overpower the other, which could potentially lead to genocide. Bauer implied that this balance of power could lead to the realization that neither side can eliminate the other, thus necessitating a political solution to the conflict.

"Israeli Experts Say Middle East Was Safer With Saddam in Iraq" Article printed in "The Forward."

05 Jan 2007  |  The Forward
The article by Orly Halpern discusses the concerns among Israeli officials, academics, and Iraqi émigrés that Israel might be in greater danger following the death of Saddam Hussein. Despite Saddam's negative reputation in Israel, some now believe that his regime was less dangerous than the chaos that ensued after his removal. The article highlights the retrospective views of various individuals, including Deputy Defense Minister Ephraim Sneh, Shin Bet director Yuval Diskin, and political scientists Amatzia Baram and Eitan Barak, who suggest that Saddam's authoritarian control may have been preferable to the current instability, which has led to increased terrorism and violence in the region. The article also touches on Saddam's complex history with Israel, including periods of extreme hostility as well as moments of potential rapprochement.

"In Ethiopia, one man's model for a just society" A print and online article in The Christian Science Monitor reported on from a village in Ethiopia. "Zumra Nuru founded a village based on ideals of equality. It's now lauded by leaders of all stripes..."

21 Aug 2007  |  The Christian Science Monitor
Zumra Nuru, an Ethiopian farmer, founded Awra Amba, a unique commune that defies traditional gender roles and religious divisions. In this community, men and women share all tasks equally, and there is no place for religious practices. Nuru, who was illiterate and faced ostracism for his progressive ideas, started the commune in the 1980s with a small group. Despite initial resistance, Awra Amba has grown to 400 members and is now recognized as a successful model for gender equality and poverty reduction. The community has attracted attention from government officials, NGOs, and international bodies like the European Union. Awra Amba's economy is based on weaving and agriculture, and it operates on principles of honesty and collective welfare, including social security for its members. The village's approach has inspired studies and is considered a positive influence in the conservative Amhara region of Ethiopia.

ISRAEL CLAIMS HOLY SITES, REIGNITES RELIGIOUS FLASHPOINT BY ORLY HALPERN Netanyahu’s decision to declare two holy sites located in the Palestinian Territories and once shared by Jews, Christians, and Muslims “national heritage sites” triggers violence and conflict. READ MORE

"R and R in Qatar" A radio feature for American Public Media about US soldiers, who were serving Iraq and Afghanistan, and got four precious days of R&R at a special base in Qatar.

19 Jul 2008  |  weekendamerica.publicradio.org
The article discusses the R&R (rest and recuperation) program set up by the U.S. Central Command in 2004 at a military base in Qatar to provide a short break for soldiers without taking them out of the Middle East. Over 150,000 soldiers have participated since its inception. The program offers a controlled environment with limited alcohol consumption, recreational activities, and organized trips. The journalist, Orly Halpern, spent four days at Camp As-Sayliyah to observe the soldiers' experiences. Soldiers have mixed feelings about the program, with some appreciating the break and others feeling restricted by the rules. The program aims to provide relaxation while maintaining discipline, contrasting with the more debauched R&R of past wars. The article includes soldiers' perspectives on the program's benefits and limitations.

Orly Halpern reports on tension between Israel and Iran in radio report on RTE.


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