Both immigrants from North America, Matti Friedman and Haim Watzman now live and write in Jerusalem. As reporters, they both observed Israeli life with the detachment of a foreigner — and the keen eye of an insider. Now, as authors, this insider-outsider perspective continues as seen in their recently published work.

On Tuesday, April 25, the pair will discuss their new books in English for The Times of Israel Presents. The event is part of the monthly series, Personal Pages: Meet the Authors, and take place at the Tower of David.

Former The Times of Israel staff writer Friedman hails from Toronto. His first book, “The Aleppo Codex,” an investigation into the strange fate of an ancient Bible manuscript, won several awards including the 2014 Sami Rohr Prize and was translated into seven languages. His latest book, “Pumpkinflowers: A Soldier’s Story,” based on his military service in an isolated Israeli army outpost in Lebanon, was chosen as a New York Times notable book and one of Amazon’s 10 best books of 2016.

His reporting, mainly for the Associated Press, took him from Israel to Lebanon, Morocco, Moscow, the Caucasus and Washington, DC. Critical essays he wrote for Tablet and The Atlantic about foreign media coverage on the 2014 Gaza War gained worldwide attention.

Watzman was born in Cleveland and moved to Israel in 1978. His first book, “Company C,” detailed his experiences as a new immigrant soldier in an IDF combat unit. His second, “A Crack in the Earth,” took readers on a journey from Eilat to Metulla, via the lowest point in the world at the Dead Sea, and paints a portrait of the fascinating people and places he encountered along the way.

Cover, 'Pumpkinflowers' by Matti Friedman. (Courtesy)

Cover, ‘Pumpkinflowers’ by Matti Friedman. (Courtesy)

A widely-respected translator and editor, Watzman has worked with Amos Oz, David Grossman, Shlomo Avineri and edited the English-language edition of Yuval Noah Harari’s “Sapiens.” For nine years his monthly “Necessary Stories” have graced the pages of The Jerusalem Report and his new book of the same name brings together a collection of 24 of the best.

Come and hear Friedman and Watzman discuss each others’ work at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, April 25, at the Crusaders Hall, Tower of David. Tickets, NIS 50, available HERE.

Books will be available for purchase and signing by the authors, courtesy of Katamon Books. Pre-order your copy by emailing Rachel at or phone: 077-506 1311.

SEASON TICKET OFFER: Save nearly 20% when you buy a season ticket for the next five events in the Times of Israel Presents series. More details HERE.

'Necessary Stories' by Haim Watzman. (Courtesy)

‘Necessary Stories’ by Haim Watzman. (Courtesy)


A conversation with the chairman of the Jewish Agency, former minister and former Prisoner of Zion
8 p.m. Hirsch Theater, Beit Shmuel,
6 Eliyahu Shama Street, Jerusalem
Advance tickets NIS 50 HERE
(NIS 60 at the door, cash only)
In association with Nefesh B’Nefesh

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