The Olive Press: Finding humanity in the Middle East
Shyrine Ziadeh leads one of her three classes at the Ramallah Ballet Center, which she opened in December 2011 with the help of her family. Christa Case Bryant/The Christian Science Monitor
Mohammed Assaf, who grew up in a Gaza refugee camp singing with his pianist sister, skyrocketed to fame when he pleaded his way into the 2013 Arab Idol auditions and went on to win the contest. Mohamad Torokman/Reuters
Liat Azran (r.), founded a thrift store in the southern Israeli town of Sderot, after years of rocket fire from Gaza filled her with a desire to help her working-class community. Here she helps customer Judith Bar-Hay find a belt. Christa Case Bryant/The Christian Science Monitor
Arin Shaabi is exempt from Israeli army service as an Israeli Arab citizen. But, she says, with rights come responsibilities. So she is serving as a military prosecutor and deals mainly with Palestinians from the West Bank. Christa Case Bryant/The Christian Science Monitor
Fisherman bring their daily catch to the market near the Gaza City port as buyers gather to bid for fish one early September morning in 2011. Ann Hermes/Staff
Nader Abu Turki and Hamoud Salah, former Palestinian prisoners exiled to Gaza upon their release, opened a new dessert shop in 2013 that was so popular they added a second location the next month. They make a sumptuous version of the Palestinian dessert kenafeh that is popular in Mr. Salah's home city of Nablus. Christa Case Bryant/The Christian Science Monitor
Israeli film director Rama Burshtein, posing here on the red carpet in Venice in September 2012, has drawn widespread acclaim for 'Fill the Void,' the first film about ultra-Orthodox Jews made by someone from within their community. Tony Gentile/Reuters
Armed with generosity, German cleaning products, and biweekly meetings to discuss politics, German-Egyptian hotelier Hebba Bakri has trained her staff to run a tight ship at the Longchamps Hotel in Cairo. Christa Case Bryant/The Christian Science Monitor
Bassem Youssef, Egypt's Jon Stewart – seen here en route to the state prosecutor's office in March – probed his country's love-hate relationship with the US in a month-long satire during Ramadan 2013. Amr Nabil/AP
Arik Einstein's songs became the soundtrack for an adolescent country through its ups and downs. One of his top hits speaks of children leaving the nest – but perhaps also a country growing up.
Shira Rubin, Correspondent /
December 4, 2013
The passing of Israeli singing legend Arik Einstein has sparked an outpouring of appreciation for a man whose songs became the soundtrack for a nation, uniting Israelis of all stripes through the ups and downs of an adolescent country beset by social divisions, religious strife, and war.