Girls at War as presented by: Photo District News

On assignment with writer Elizabeth Rubin for Tablet Magazine, New York-based photographer Gillian Laub traveled to the Israeli settlements in the West Bank to produce a series of portraits of teenage girls, all students and former students of an Orthodox religious school called Ma’ale Levona. The work appears as part of a searing report on the teenage believers who could reshape the Israeli-Palestinian struggle. As Rubin writes, the girls, who live on one of the front lines of that conflict, are being taught to become “a new kind of girl—smitten with God, righteous, ideological, ready to fight and procreate for the cause of restoring biblical Israel.” The challenge for Laub was to convey each girl’s defiance, strength, and determination, mixed with their youthful vulnerability. “After all,” she says, “they were still teenagers, but they viewed themselves as warriors. I also wanted to show the land, the idyllic landscape, that is the root of this ongoing conflict.”

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