“I’m With Fifi”: Arab-Jewish Coexistence From the Salon Chair

by | May 25, 2017 | Around the World

Haifa, Israel is known for having a “high degree of integration and cooperation among Arabs and Jews, not found elsewhere in the country“. Despite this, Jewish Haifa-native Iris Zaki, feels that though the city is mixed, it is also segregated. Growing up, she had never chatted with Arab neighbors.

In 2015, Iris, set out to create a film about Israeli Arabs and their unequal treatment in Israel. Instead she finds “a little island of sanity” when she takes a job as a shampoo girl at an Israeli-Arab salon and installs a camera over the salon sink.

Iris starts off a little unsure of her hair-washing skills, but soon focuses in on what she’s good at: talking and listening. The stories she gathers, from the Jewish woman who has been going to Fifi, the Arab salon owner, for 30 years, to Fifi herself, show what life can look like without “the distractions of politics and war.”

Her story, in her own words, in the video from Iris Zaki in The New York Times, below, adapted from her award-winning documentary, “Women in Sink,”

Thanks to our friends at The Telos Group–including upcoming MY JOB chapter narrators Greg and Mickey–for sharing this video with us.

Photo credit: Iris Zaki

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Suzanne Skees, author of the three-volume MY JOB series on real people in remarkable jobs, believes in the power of our jobs over our identity and wellbeing and, conversely, our ability to change our world with the work of our minds and hands. She lives by the Pacific Ocean and spends as much time as possible listening to the surf, and to silence.



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