A Palestinian Woman on Italian Primetime News
Rula Jebreal

  • Why You Should Care
  • Bio
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  • Made By
Why Should You Care
  • First foreign anchorwoman in Italian television
  • MSNBC commenter and political analyst
  • Wrote best-seller and movie Miral

Rula Jebreal is an Italian-Palestinian journalist, who has worked in Italy, Egypt and, now, the United States, where she is a frequent contributor for MSNBC.

Jebreal was born in Haifa, Israel; however, she was raised in East Jerusalem. After her mother committed suicide when she was 5, Rula and her sister were put in a Palestinian orphanage by her father. Jebreal eventually left the turmoil of East Jerusalem when she was awarded a scholarship by the Italian government to study at the University of Bologna. She went on to earn a masters in Journalism and Political Science.

Jebreal immediately began working for Italian newspapers. Her area of expertise is foreign affairs related to the Arab-Israeli conflict and the uprising of Islamic movements, having lived at the center of it for so many years in East Jersualem.

In 2000, the combination of her strong personality and charisma led to her first job as an on-air reporter, and she quickly became a sensation in Italy as the first foreign anchorwoman broadcasting the 8pm news in the history of Italian television.

In 2004, Jebreal started her own daily talk show for Italian television, Ominibus, where she interviewed such prestigious global personalities as Silvio BerlusconiBill Gates, ex-prime minister Massimo D’Alema, president of the Italian Parliament Lamberto Dini, French minister of foreign affairs Bernard Kouchner, Palestinian President Abu Mazen, and Nobel Prize winner El Baradei.

By age 33, Jebreal earned the highest journalism award, the International Ischia Award for Best Journalist of the Year.

Having had a news show in Egypt and now having made the move to the U.S., Jebreal frequently contributes to MSNBC as a foreign policy expert.

Jebreal also authored the autobiographical novel Miral, which was made into a controversial and widely-publicized 2010 film starring Freida Pinto.

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I know that before I hit 30 I had to be on television. I didn’t know that by 28 I would be a very successful television anchor in Italy.

… I went to my director and said I’m tired of reading the news, any girl can read the news, I want a political TV show, and he looked at me and said you must be joking with me…And I said give me the 7 o’clock in the morning…And he said you will never have a guest there. He was wrong. I had a TV show that started at 8 o’clock in the morning for four years non-stop, every morning.

…it was incredible because it became successful so quickly. That I did not expect.

I would interview politicians, and officials, athletes, and writers, and you know create a debate and it was called hardtalk. So whatever was the headlines of any papers will be the main conversation on my table…

…I remember I got a phone call from the prime minister at the time he was Silvio Berlusconi…so that was major interview, it was sold to 17 networks, and created a lo tof debate. At age 32 I won best journalist of the year in Italy and that was a moving moment.

Made By

Cinematography: Ian McAlpin

Edited by: Bowie Alexander

Interviewed by: Laura Lehmann

Produced by: Laura Lehmann

Story by: Danielle Calodney

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