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Voices Lecture Series Presents "Woman With the Uzi"

CONTACT: Steve Mullen (518) 629-8063
FOR RELEASE: Immediate, Monday, November 25, 2002

Ellen Evans, a mother of nine children who lived in Israel for 12 years, will explain why she became the first non-military woman in the West Bank to be issued an automatic weapon by the Israeli government on Tuesday, December 3 at Hudson Valley Community College. Evans' presentation, part of Hudson Valley's "Voices: A Library Lecture Series," will begin at noon in the Bulmer Telecommunications Center auditorium.

Evans moved to Israel in March of 1979 and settled in the West Bank town of Kiryat Arba, on the outskirts of Hebron, with her husband and three children at the time. For protection, Israeli governmental policies allowed all non-military Jewish men living in the settlements to be issued an automatic weapon.

In 1980, after a Palestinian attack on several Jewish seminary students in Hebron, Evans, whose husband had to take the family's weapon into Jerusalem during the day for work, was afraid for her family's safety, and she went to the local security chief and requested a second weapon for her to have at home.

"I went down to security headquarters and requested a gun for myself," Evans said. "I had security training and knew how to handle a weapon. They were very reluctant to give a woman a gun, but to get me to leave, the security chief told me that if I went to the firing range and got a permit, I could have a gun. The next day, I came back with the permit and, because several people had heard him tell me I could have a gun with the permit, he had to give it to me."

Two days after she received the gun, a picture was taken of a pregnant Evans holding an Uzi. The photo was picked up by the Associated Press and appeared in many newspapers across the country on May 14, 1980.

Currently, Evans is writing her memoirs. She recently added another chapter when she visited two of her sons, who live in Israel today.

Hudson Valley Community College, located in Troy, offers more than 50 degree and certificate programs in four academic divisions: Business; Engineering and Industrial Technologies; Health Science; and Liberal Arts and Sciences; and an Educational Opportunity Center for academic and career training. One of 30 community colleges in the State University of New York system, it has an enrollment of more than 11,000 students, and is known as a leader in distance learning initiatives and workforce training.