Although I spent most of my life in Israel, I did not truly know or understand its Arab minority – over one fifth of the population – which have been somewhat forgotten amidst the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I became interested in the stories of these people living as a minority in a country defined by its religion.

I decided to focus on Arab men and women at the age of 18, a crucial turning point in their lives, when they complete school, become legal adults and earn the right to vote. Yet unlike their Jewish peers, most do not join the military.

By photographing my so-called “enemy”, I hope to shed light on the impact that cultural and internal conflict have had on these young men and women, both individually and collectively. I photographed the teenagers within their normal surroundings as a way to situate a sense of place and to reveal the social context of their lives.

Eighteen is an artistic point of contact serving as an invitation to get closer; a project aimed at reconciliation through understanding and respect; an inside view by one who is typically regarded as an outsider. If I, a Jewish Israeli man, have been accepted and was allowed into my subjectsʼ personal lives – so can others.

Natan Dvir

The project “Eighteen” was made possible thanks to the generous support of the Other Israel Film Festival –