Excerpt from “Throw away the axioms”

Further, what matters is what Iran does, not what it says. In the Mideast, public statements play a different role than they do in the West. In the US, reporters dutifully tote up campaign promises and trot them out to show how candidates don’t keep them. In the West, if you promise something, you’re supposed to do it.

In the Mideast, not so much. Making a strong statement is often the equivalent of doing something. You’ve said it, now let’s move on.

Egypt’s media frequently run anti-Israel content. Conspiracy theories abound, blaming the Zionists and their all-powerful Mossad for everything that’s wrong. So when I started working in Egypt as a journalist in 2009, and especially after I moved there in 2011 for a two-year residence, I expected some tensions when people discovered I’m a Jew and an Israeli.

Quite the opposite. I was warmly welcomed by the dozens of Egyptians in my office, all of whom knew I’m an Israeli. Outside, people who discovered I’m Jewish didn’t tone down their positive behavior. Hating Israel is part of the culture, all right—but it’s nothing personal, and it’s not a big deal. Recently a well-versed and well-traveled expert in Arab affairs laughed with delighted approval when I observed, “Egyptians hate Israel the way I hate broccoli.”

And the fact is, Egypt and Israel have close relations in the fields of economics, military and intelligence. Most of them are out of the public eye. Even key economic agreements, like the QIZ pact that benefits millions of Egyptian workers, are not talked about.

Of course it would be nicer if these beneficial arrangements were public, and if Egyptian media stopped charging that Israel sells poisoned seeds to farmers and sends sharks to frighten tourists away. One day that might happen. But it’s not that important in the larger scheme of things.

Rave review of “Why Are We Still Afraid?”

This is a landmark book on English-language Israeli journalism over the last four decades, but also a moving personal story from behind the headlines.

That’s an excerpt from a review of my book in the prestigious magazine “Jerusalem Report.” Here’s an other one:

The author’s intent by delineating the conflicts he witnessed since arriving was somewhat prescient: “This is a composite story of how we have progressed from really awful events that shocked our people to events that are awful but not as awful, yet they shock our people just as much, here and abroad. It’s a mentality thing.” 

That’s just a taste. Here is the whole review.

The book looks back on nearly half a century of my reporting from Israel and draws a surprising conclusion, It’s available on Amazon, $2.99 for the ebook (with color photos), and $18.99 for the paperback.