This selection of photographs is from “Serene Oasis,” a large format, black and white photography project I started in the fall of 2014 and am about to conclude with the publishing of a book. The name for this project comes from the literal English translation for “Neve Sha’anan," a small, poor neighborhood located in the Southeast part of Tel Aviv which is home for thousands of African, Asian, Eastern Europeans; immigrants, asylum seekers and refugees who arrived in Israel in the past fifteen years. Neve Sha’anan was first established in the 1920s by Jewish immigrants seeking better lives. It became a symbol of pioneering, innovation, and prosperity in post-World War I Palestine under the British Mandate.
Today, the neighborhood and its residents are in the midst of a heated debate about immigration, foreign workers, refugees and asylum seekers and their rights and legal status. The increase in armed conflicts, economic hardship and civil wars created waves of immigration and millions of refugees in transit seeking asylum in foreign states in hopes to provide for their families in search for a better future. As the need for a safe haven for transitional population was not diminished by the passage of time, “Serene Oasis” does not only concern the socio-political situation in "Neve Sha’anan" but puts emphasis on the people who live there.