These two women, Aumhasan and Muti, were born, raised, and married in the Israeli city of Lod, just a short drive away from Tel Aviv. In 2010, the Israeli government finished construction on a wall to separate the Arab population of Lod from the city’s Jewish population. Citing security issues, Israel said that the city, once described as a melting pot, needed to build a wall as a means to protect the Jewish residents from Arab crimes. The Arab residents, however, liken the wall to ethnic segregation.

“Look at the conditions that we are living,” says Muti. ”Look at the infrastructure. For our kids there is no garden. There is no library. There is nothing they have that makes a normal life. They play in the street. There is no transportation. It is very difficult for buses to come in here. And we are paying the same money as the Israelis, but we don’t have any services.”

According to The Economist, a “study by a liberal Israeli group called Shatil (“Seedling”) estimates that 70% of Arab homes in Lod lack legal status.” Therefore, “many municipal services, such as street lighting and rubbish collection, stop at the boundaries.”

On the other side of the wall, there is a different narrative. The Jewish community is not denied the services such as waste removal, paved roads, and a standard quality of life. According to The Economist, “Israel’s prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, encourages building for Jews to proceed with abandon,” while the Arab residents in Lod say that they are denied building permits and many of their homes are demolished.

“Mixed neighborhoods,” according to Sheera Frenkel in an NPR report, ”have become a rarity. Highly guarded, Jewish-only building projects have sprung up across the city, most of them sponsored by religious Jewish groups.”

“There is one street separating us and them,” says Muti. ”They can build and they have all the services. They have all these streets and infrastructure. It is one street separating between us and them. And look at them and look at us.”

Photos by Robyn Carolyn Price

Editor’s note: Krista and the On Being team are in Israel this week and working with Diane Winston’s graduate students from the University of Southern California Annenberg School of Communication & Journalism. We’ll be sharing some of these students’ reports as part of our collaboration and to add to the diversity of observations of this complex place.

Share Your Reflection



I urge you to go into the Palestinian cities and towns to report on the status of Jews living there.

I was very upset to learn about the building of this wall in Lod, so I decided to do some research to understand more about it. What I found was that there was a much more complex story behind the building of the wall. Your posting puts the most evil face possible the behavior of Israeli's on a complex situation in which there are caring people on both sides of the issue. This article in the Jerusalem Post explains the complexity that you decided to leave out in order to "spin" the story. So sad that I can't trust APM to provide balanced information!

@Dafka - Thank you for your comment and research on this story. It is great that people are interested enough in these issues to do further research. If wish there were more people like you.

However, the article that you cited from the J-Post is from 2007, and although the court declared the wall illegal, the wall still remains in 2011 and effects the Arab community of Lod. The article does cite crime as an issue, and provides links to three well balanced sources - The Economist, NPR (National Public Radio) and the J-Post. These links were given for further reading. As someone who has been to Lod, it is a very tragic story there and it is necessary to report the voices of disenfranchised people, as they are not often given a platform. Yes, there are great Israelis who obviously do not support the wall. But, this story is about how the people living on the other side of the wall feel, how it effects their lives, and how the Israeli government (not the Israeli people) have handled it.

@Dafka -We cannot ignore the fact that this is a wall...a wall...that is separating human beings from one another. When is that ever okay? There is no spin here. All governments need to be critiqued. This is not about the Israeli people doing something wrong. It is about the government's decision.

And you do realize that the Arabs that live in Lod...are Israelis also. They are either Israeli citizens or permanent residents of Israel. So speaking on behalf of the Arabs living in Lod or anywhere in Israel for that matter, is still speaking on behalf of Israelis. :-)