Nahilia Tazazit was born in the small village of Beit Ras in southeast Israel in 1922, and was only 19 when she was conscripted into the Israeli army in 1941. Despite being promised a lenience that was not given to other new recruits, Nahilia was still disillusioned with the military experience, and so decided to flee—a decision she had been warned would be punishable by death.
Nahilia’s time as a fugitive was short-lived, however. She was soon recaptured and spent the remainder of the year in military prison. After her release, Nahilia immediately returned to her village, where she lived for the rest of her life.
Now, nearly 80 years later, Nahilia is running again—but this time, it’s for a much different cause. Despite her advanced age—Nahilia’s birthday falls just two weeks before her 95th—she is once again hitting the streets in protest of the policies of Israel’s current right-wing government.
Nahilia is one of many senior Israeli citizens who have taken part in the weekly anti-government demonstrations held in her hometown over the past year. The gatherings are a reenergized effort in the struggle against the policies of the early Zionist settler community that sought to expel the Arab population from the newly-claimed land.
Though facing an uphill battle in her mission to be heard, Nahilia remains resolute. “The struggle is our duty, regardless of our age”, she says. “We cannot give up.” And with her energy and enthusiasm, she proves that she and her fellow protesters have no intention of doing so.