13 November 2009 0 Comments

Is Abbas really ready to quit this time?

Worn out has-been or drama queen? Interpretations of the Palestinian president’s threat to quit vary greatly. By Matt Beynon Rees – GlobalPost JERUSALEM — Sometimes a quitter really does quit for good. The Palestinian Authority president, Mahmoud Abbas, announced last week that he wouldn’t run for re-election in the proposed January elections. Back when he […]

21 October 2009 0 Comments

“ME” doesn’t stand for Middle East

One of the advantages of being an author in an “exotic” locale is that people visit and want to hear from you as someone who knows the place well. It’s also one of the disadvantages. Last Friday night, I drove out to Ein Kerem to meet one such group of visitors from Reboot, a U.S. […]

4 September 2009 2 Comments

Suffering 101

Palestinians and Israelis take an eternal debate into the classroom, leaving the UN stuck in the middle. By Matt Beynon Rees – GlobalPost JERUSALEM — In the Book of Lamentations, the people of Jerusalem cry out against the destruction of the city: “Is any suffering like my suffering?” The answer, of course, is: No. Ever […]

3 September 2009 0 Comments

Oldest Bible? Tell it to the Samaritans

UK newspaper The Daily Telegraph reports the discovery of a portion of a Bible from 350 AD in the library of the monastery of St. Catherine in the Sinai. The Codex Sinaiticus is written in Greek on animal skin and the newspaper calls it “a fragment of the world’s oldest bible.” Well, I hate to […]

13 August 2009 0 Comments

Whose Abu are you?

Here’s my latest post on the International Crime Authors Reality Check blog: In the West, our names tend to be pretty nailed down and unvaried. Unless you’re the child of some Hollywood goof who named you Moon Unit or Pilot Inspektor, you’re likely to share your name with many other people. Take me, for example. […]

5 August 2009 0 Comments

Poetry from the ‘driest’ book of the Bible: Yakov Azriel’s Writing Life

A few years ago I was at a literary conference near Tel Aviv. I found an eclectic mix of writers on the panel with me. I’m a crime writer. You wouldn’t expect me to be paired with a writer of poetry who takes his inspiration from the stories of the Bible. But as Yakov Azriel […]

12 July 2009 0 Comments

Rabbis: No pie for Jesus!

Her methods may be kosher, but in Israel baker Pnina Konforti faces a bigger commercial obstacle: She’s a Messianic Jew.By Matt Beynon Rees – GlobalPost GAN YAVNEH, Israel — I always thought that by following kosher laws religious Jews only missed out on certain flavors and debatable delicacies. Turns out that by turning their back […]

3 July 2009 0 Comments

Israelis riot, thanks be to God

Orthodox Jews face off against secularists in the Holy Land — a sign that all is well. By Matt Beynon Rees – GlobalPost JERUSALEM — Ultra-orthodox Jews have been rioting the last few weeks against a parking lot the municipality wants to leave open during the Jewish Sabbath, leading to dozens of arrests and quite […]

13 June 2009 1 Comment

A living foreign correspondent the most useless thing to media industry — Reviewing a "Novel of Jihad"

The magazine of Harvard’s Nieman Fellowship asked me to write an essay about Jeffrey Fleishman’s “Promised Virgins: A Novel of Jihad”. I wrote about why international correspondents like me and Fleishman, Cairo bureau chief for the LA Times, turn to novels to express the depth of what we learn about a foreign culture. Here’s how […]

5 June 2009 0 Comments

Look out, God–Here’s Shalom Auslander’s Writing Life interview

“Fuck,” said God. …That’s a line from one of the short-stories in Shalom Auslander’s “Beware of God.” I live in the Middle East, so I feel like I hear God saying “Fuck!” almost every day. (If He doesn’t, then He’s not reading the newspapers.) “Beware of God” nails faith and the faithful as only a […]