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Lucy Aharish (right) in Tel Aviv. (The Free Press).

WATCH: This Muslim Israeli Woman Is the Hope of the Middle East

I’ve done many interviews that have stayed with me. This might be the most moving of all. Meet the iconoclastic and brave Lucy Aharish.

Lucy Aharish is one of the most prominent television broadcasters in Israel. But that’s not the thing that makes her exceptional. The thing that makes Lucy stand out is that she is the first Arab Muslim news presenter on mainstream, Hebrew-language Israeli television.

Born and raised in a small Jewish town in Israel’s Negev desert as one of the only Arab Muslim families there, Lucy often says that she sees herself as sitting on a fence. By that she doesn’t mean she’s unwilling to take a side—as you’ll see, she is a woman of strong convictions, bravery, and moral backbone. What she means is that she has a unique lens through which to view the divisions in Israeli society, the complexity of the country’s national identity, and the Middle East more generally. 

That complexity was on display in 2018 when Lucy’s marriage to a Jewish Israeli actor (Tsahi Halevi of Fauda fame) sparked a nasty backlash from the country’s religious far-right. 

Lucy has long been a vocal critic of those peripheral far-right voices—the ones who are inclined to oppose her marriage. She’s also long been critical of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. But she is equally critical of her fellow Arab Israelis, particularly of Arab violence and of the Arab leadership that she says condones it. 

An Arab. A proud Israeli. A Muslim married to a Jew. In short, Lucy Aharish is an iconoclast.

I sat down with Lucy recently in Tel Aviv. We talked about the October 7 massacre and its impact on the country and her family—her husband put on his uniform and headed to the south within hours of Hamas’s invasion of the country. Left alone with her son, she contemplated “hiding him in the washing machine,” should terrorists arrive at her doorstep.

Lucy also talked about the challenges she faced growing up as the only Arab Muslim kid in a traditional Jewish village, and how she was bullied for that but doesn’t view herself as a victim. We talked about the terrorist attack that she survived in Gaza as a child, which makes October 7 all the more personal to her. We discussed why she believes that Israelis and Arabs share the same destiny, the hope that she has for her Muslim-Jewish son, and the future of the country she loves—and calls home. 

I’ve been very lucky in my career: I’ve done many interviews that have stayed with me. But this might be the most moving of all.

Watch our full conversation here: 

This interview is part of a larger project based on recent Free Press reporting in Israel. We spoke to dozens of people living the war every day: from October 7 survivors and reservists fighting in Gaza to Israeli refugees and Palestinians in Ramallah. We’re excited to bring you more of those conversations soon. Follow us on YouTube, X, Instagram, and TikTok for updates. 

Last, important note: taking The Free Press on the road requires producers, camera operators, researchers, and a lot of coffee. The best way to support our ongoing coverage of the war in the Middle East—and everything else we do—is by becoming a paid subscriber: 

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