First Person: Matti Friedman

Matti Friedman’s new book, "Spies of No Country: Secret Lives at the Birth of Israel" tells the unknown story of four of Israel’s first spies. Recruited by a rag-tag outfit called the Arab Section before the 1948 War of Independence, they assumed Arab identities to gather intelligence and carry out sabotage and assassinations. At the height of the war the spies posed as refugees fleeing the fighting, reached Beirut, and set up what became Israel’s first foreign intelligence station. "Spies" not only tells a breathtaking and true espionage story, it also explores a different story about how the state was founded and raises many questions that are relevant today.

In a wide-ranging First Person conversation at the Center for Jewish History, Matti Friedman spoke with author Lucette Lagnado ("The Man in the White Sharkskin Suit") on March 12, 2019 about his journalism career, researching and writing his new book, and what "Spies of No Country" reveals about Israel in the 20th and 21st centuries.

This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

Presented by: Center for Jewish History, American Jewish Historical Society, American Sephardi Federation, & Jewish Book Council

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