Spies of No Country
Chair: Jenni Frazer
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In 1948, with Israel’s existence hanging in the balance, four men, part of a ragtag unit known as the Arab Section, consisting of Jews native to the Arab world, went undercover in Beirut. Here, they spent the next two years operating out of a newsstand, collecting intelligence and sending messages back to Israel via a radio whose antenna was disguised as a clothesline. Of the dozen spies in the Arab section at the outbreak of the ’48 war, five were caught and executed. But in the end, the Arab Section would emerge as the nucleus of the Mossad. Spies of No Country, a masterfully-told tale of Israel’s first spies, is about the slippery identity of these young people; but it’s also about the complicated identity of Israel, a country that presents itself as Western but in fact has more citizens with Middle Eastern roots and traditions.
Sponsored by Dangoor Education.
Matti Friedman is a Canadian-Israeli journalist and a contributor to the New York Times op-ed section. Spies of No Country: Secret Lives at the Birth of Israel is his latest book. He lives in Jerusalem.
Jenni Frazer has had an award-winning career in journalism for over 30 years, where she has performed nearly every kind of role, from news reporter to bureau chief, from editing and commissioning, to running a team of reporters. She has interviewed many major celebrities and been a media commentator on UK radio and TV, including News 24 and The World Tonight for the BBC.