I’ve wanted to be a journalist for as long as I can remember. Journalism always seemed like such important work, challenging peoples’ biases, bringing hard truths to the public in order to keep them honest and informed.
Ever since I spent two weeks in Egypt as a teenager – this was in January 2001, less than a year before 9/11 – I’ve dreamt of being a freelance reporter in the Middle East. I was fascinated by terrorism, by the idea that someone believed in something so much they’d give their life for it. Every journalist wants to cover the big stories, and I thought the Middle East was the biggest story on Earth.
So I decided to go. In 2015, at age 32, my wife and I looked at a map of the Middle East and chose Jerusalem as our new home. Not only was the city Westernized and relatively safe, it was a stone’s throw from the most publicized conflict in the world. That summer we quit our jobs in New York City and moved to Israel.
The public appetite for news from Israel-Palestine is almost bottomless, and it wasn’t hard for me to find work after moving to Jerusalem. I quickly started selling stories to news outlets in the U.S., the U.K. and Australia, as well as for Al Jazeera English, which is based in Qatar.