When you have been working in journalism in the Jewish community as long as I have, you get to know a lot of people. And I mean a lot.
From big stories in the Jewish world such as the fight to free Soviet Jewry or the pressure on Swiss banks to give up their Nazi gold, to stories of global attention such as Israel’s peace treaty with Jordan, I’ve been there. I’ve been in Vienna when the Soviet Jews were in transit to a better life. I’ve been in South Africa and watched the role of the Jewish community in helping an emergent black middle class. I’ve dodged KGB agents in Moscow while visiting refuseniks and I’ve ventured into south Lebanon with the Israeli army, wearing a Kevlar vest and Marks & Spencer trainers. I’ve fallen asleep while Scuds have landed in Israel during the First Gulf War, and I’ve terrified a Palestinian fixer by arguing with a Hamas leader in Gaza.
Along the way I’ve interviewed scores of people, some well-known, some who should be. Good journalists should always ask “why”? You can read some of the answers here.