Yael Levy, 17, Holon

They live in different places in Israel, pursue different occupations, come from different family backgrounds and are at different stages of their lives. Yotam Feldman?s portrait of eight women − all named Yael Levy.

Yotam Feldman
Yotam Feldman
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Yotam Feldman
Yotam Feldman

Scene I: Comfortable clothes

On the first day of first grade, her mother, Shira, dressed her in a denim skirt. Yael, who rarely wore skirts, protested. "I am an only daughter after two sons, and I was quite a tomboy; I got used to wearing pants in the summer." A skirt was not entirely suited to Yael's activities. She and her three closest girlfriends played on the school's basketball team. They regularly defeated the boys' team and represented the school in national competitions.

These days, Yael and all her girlfriends put on makeup for school. "I put on rouge and mascara, it takes two minutes, and a lot of times I regret it on the way, if we have a gym class. Some of the girls put on heavier makeup, but they're not part of my group - I think that's a little overdone for the morning.

"I like comfortable clothes. I have a slogan: Less is more. Even a T-shirt and jeans with heels is better than sparklers and things like that. For parties we invest in dresses and tunics, but usually you don't have to dress up too much on Fridays, because we go to somebody's house, sit in the yard and play Taki and Monopoly."

Scene II: One fish, two fish

Yael, her father and her two older brothers are sitting on the quay of Jaffa port around midday, holding fishing rods and waiting. When one of them feels the pull of a fish, he waits for the fish to swallow the bait and then reels it in, but instead of throwing it into a basket and taking it home, he unhooks the fish and throws it back into the sea. "We are the only ones who don't kill the fish," Yael says. "Everyone takes buckets of fish home, but we throw them back into the water."

Scene III: Illness

Yael and four of her friends in the communications track are in the Bat Yam home of David Primo, a former member of the Israel national soccer team. Primo has cancer of the throat, and the students, who are making a documentary film about him, are going over photographs of former players, games and trophies with him. "The boys went into shock when they saw the hole in his throat, and the girls stayed to interview him," Yael says. "You don't actually see a hole - it's covered by a dressing - but every so often he changes it, and then you see there is something underneath.

"We started to talk to him about the past and about sports and then we stopped shooting and asked if we could ask him about the disease, and he said it was all right and answered all the questions. He told us that the cancer was discovered four years ago and they said he might die."

Yael relates that since then he crosses her mind every now and again. "It made me think about old age and death," she says. "Every so often I ask my grandmother about death. I thought about it after I dreamed that something happened to her and she was hospitalized. I asked her if she isn't afraid to die and she doubled over with laughter and asked me what kind of questions I was asking. As she was saying that there is nothing to be afraid of, tears started to roll down her face."



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