Miri Tzachi - She saw beyond her lens

Tzachi covered many major news events, but what she was best known for was photographing scenes from Judea and Samaria.

Photography, illustrative (photo credit: PXHERE)
Photography, illustrative
(photo credit: PXHERE)
Although she was an unobtrusive photojournalist, taking care never to obstruct fellow photographers, Miri Tzachi, who died on Tuesday following a prolonged battle with cancer, always stood out in the crowd. The reason: she belonged to the National Religious camp.
Unlike most other female photojournalists, she didn’t wear jeans and a tank top. The head of the mother of five was always covered with a kerchief and she wore long flowing skirts and dresses which hovered just above her ankles.
Tzachi covered many major news events, but what she was best known for was photographing scenes from Judea and Samaria. Everything interested her and caught her eye – people, flora and fauna, sunsets and moonlight. Nothing eluded her attention and she often saw things that somehow had escaped the line of vision of other photographers.
Her intensive focus on Gush Katif before, during and after the evacuation in August 2005, resulted in a book titled Katif, which has become a heart-rending memoir for those who used to live there.
Although they saw her in other places, both President Reuven Rivlin and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu were most aware of her when they visited the West Bank. She was always there to capture images of their visits for posterity, and for the many newspapers and magazines which published her photographs.
On learning of her death, Rivlin said that she was beloved and would be sorely missed.
“No visit to the settlements was complete without you,” he recalled as if he was speaking to her directly. “I deferred to you every time you would say: ‘Hold on a second, Ruvi, there’s one more beautiful frame, don’t go.’ I’m hurting over your loss. You will always be in my heart,” said Rivlin.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in sending his condolences to Tzachi’s family, lauded “her extraordinary talent for capturing moments and people on camera that many others did not document before her. “
Yamina leader Naftali Bennett tweeted: “Miri was a special soul, a photo-journalist, idealistic, with a huge heart. Alongside her professionalism of the highest order, she was a person with a good heart who helped others endlessly.”
Shlomo Ne’eman, head of the Gush Etzion Regional Council who regarded Tzachi’s passing as a tremendous loss for the settlement enterprise, stated: “Miri was Judea and Samaria’s photographer. She was quietly and modestly present at all the historical events, and Gush Etzion in particular was like a home to her. Miri left us a huge legacy of rare photographs that tell the story of our revival in Judea and Samaria. We were privileged to know Miri, who was a very talented pioneer.”
Tzachi was born in Jaffa to Turkish immigrant parents.
Among her Bat Mitzvah gifts was a camera, and photography quickly became a hobby which developed into a passion, but she did not consider turning it into a profession until the eruption of the Second Intifada.
She had studied theater at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and she had also studied photography, but mainly to improve her technique.
But when she began taking photos during the Second Intifada and submitting them to newspapers, who were quick to publish them, she realized that photojournalism was her calling. Additionally, she realized that the most significant scenes that she saw through her lens’ that will serve as a legacy for future generations were those from Judea and Samaria, where she didn’t just photograph important events, but life as it was happening.