Lone Jewish Woman by Oded Balilty
Episode #6 of the course “Pulitzer prize-winning photos”
In 2006, tensions were high in Israel as a small group of Jews took up residence in an illegal settlement in an outpost on the West Bank. The Israeli Supreme Court declared an order for destruction of nine homes in the settlement, and troops were dispatched to remove settlers and clear the area. However, hundreds of stone-throwing Jewish settlers quickly rose to defend their illegal settlement, and they came into physical altercations with the troops, who were in riot gear and on horseback.
Israeli documentarian and Associated Press photographer Oded Balilty was on the scene documenting the event. During the struggle, he saw a woman standing up to a stream of Israeli troops alone. He captured an image of her in the middle of fiercely resisting the troops’ advance. The image is often referred to as “Lone Jewish Woman.” The framing of the photo makes it seem as if the woman is undergoing the struggle against the Israeli forces alone, although over 200 were injured in the confrontation.
“Lone Jewish Woman” became a strong symbol of the continued unrest in Israel, as it captured the intense emotion not only of that incident but also of the chaos of the situation’s context. Oded Balilty was awarded in multiple international photojournalism competitions before winning the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for breaking news photography. It was the second time he was nominated in the category, which is incredibly rare. Balilty was the first Israeli to receive a Pulitzer, and he remains the only one awarded. He currently lives in Tel Aviv and continues to photograph for the AP.
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