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Idan Raichel: The Egyptian Officers Who Were Gentlemen

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Thursday March 28, 2013

From The Times of Israel

The Egyptian officers who were gentlemen
By: Idan Raichel

About half a year ago while on a business trip to the U.S., I stayed at a roadside motel in the middle of nowhere in California. Around evening time I had nothing to do there, so I would go down to the motel courtyard to read or just relax. On the first evening I overheard two men speaking to each other in Arabic. They were around 25 or 28 years old or so. I asked them who they were and where they were from and they said they were officers in the Egyptian Army and were in the US for training.

I told them I was from Israel and they balked a little and kept their distance. Another five or eight officers joined them and we started chatting about Israel, which they had never visited, and said that considering their position, they probably never will visit.

They had never spoken to an Israeli before, and were curious to know about the cultural and daily life of Tel Aviv. I felt I was talking with the cream of Egyptian society. I can’t really explain why, but these conversations were triggering in me the same emotions that I feel when I talk with Israeli Navy Seals or Special Forces: a group of men with deep sense of honor.

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