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 Berlusconi, Bill 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.
There’s thousands of people around the world trying to get one job or two job, but just believe that you are the one that will have it and go after it…
One day I remember I get a phone call from a friend of mine who said “you know there’s this journalist who called me and he needs somebody to translate from Hebrew and Arabic some articles.”…I was 21…. And I said I don’t want money. I want you to write in the end of the article that I helped you,…This article was translated with the help of Rula Jebreal…then I said would you please introduce me to the director. …And he said you know I come from the middle east I have so much knowledge of what’s going on there…and he said yes and I have many like you, and I said yes but none of them speaks Arabic, Hebrew, and English. He said that’s true. And I said if you need any inside analysis can I write you a piece…I wrote a piece and I gave it to him. he didn’t read it, he emailed me saying “… I’ll read it, I’ll let you know, but don’t have high expectations.” 2 days after I was in a coffee shop drinking cappucino, I opened that paper omg my article was there. My editorial was there with my name and a picture. I was 26. The year after I was working in television. So, things happened.
Cinematography: Ian McAlpin
Edited by: Bowie Alexander
Interviewed by: Laura Lehmann
Produced by: Laura Lehmann
Story by: Danielle Calodney