Rula Jebreal was born in Haifa in 1973 and grew up in the Old City of Jerusalem.

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(Rome was not attacked, but Berlusconi’s impending meeting in Washington with President George W.

Bush was canceled.) That year, 2005, she received Italy’s prestigious Ischia Prize in international journalism.

Toward the end of it, the artist made his way down the long table, exchanging pleasantries with some of the 300 guests.

He stopped when he got to Rula and introduced himself.“Should I be? He was dazzled—by her dark-skinned beauty, her intelligence, and her reputation as a writer, which he had already heard about. “Very innocent, like a child.” He asked if he could see something she had written.

Dinners in the household were a forum for lively political discussions and debates.

The mother taught languages at the university, and she introduced Rula to Nietzsche, Rilke, Dante, Primo Levi, the Old Testament, Flaubert’s Isabel Allende’s novels, and the Egyptian novelist Amin Maalouf.

She sent him her first book, , in a rough English translation.

Published in Italy in 2003, it is an autobiographical novel about three generations of Palestinian women, told through the eyes of a girl growing up in Jerusalem during the first intifada—the Palestinian uprising that began in 1987 against the Israeli occupation.

She covered the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, where her knowledge of Arabic gave her extra leverage.