Price  £14.95
Format  Hardback
Published  1989
Length  240 pages
ISBN  9781870015301


Mine Enemy
Amalia & Aharon Barnea

The Moving Friendship of Two Couples – Israeli and Arab


Ta’mari has not yet written his story but Aharon and Amalia Barnea have in Mine Enemy. This book is above all a story of a friendship – a friendship between ‘enemies’.  If it were a film, it would be called melodramatic, if it were a novel, it would be implausible – it is, however, the true story of cynicism and hatred put aside to reveal understanding and respect between people on either side of the bitter Middle East conflict.

Lieutenant Colonel Salah Ta’mari was the commander of the PLO forces in the Lebanese port town of Sidon when he surrendered to the Israelis after their invasion of Lebanon in 1982. Aharon Barnea, the Arab affairs correspondent for Israel Radio, was asked by the Israeli authorities to interview their new prisoner. He did so, reluctantly, as previous PLO prisoners had left him unimpressed, but the first meeting between these two men lasted six hours and a strong rapport was established between them.

Salah Ta’mari was born in Bethlehem to a large family from the Bedouin tribe of Ta’mara. He joined the PLO while studying in Cairo and rapidly rose through its ranks. He was and is, above all, a forceful, charismatic leader, humane and moderate and a voice to be listened to.

In 1970, Ta’mari married Princess Dina, King Hussein’s first wife and mother of his eldest daughter, and herself a member of the Hashemite family. This added another dimension to the Israelis’ attitude to their prisoner and Barnea arranged a secret meeting between the former Queen and her prisoner husband in a Tel Aviv hotel.

The Friendship between these two couples, the Barneas’ children and Dina and King hussein’s grandson flourished. In spite of their obvious political differences, they discovered that dialogue and co-existence were possible and their unique relationship developed over the years following Ta’mari’s release when the two families met in Cairo and London.

About the Authors

Amalia and Aharon Barnea were born in Israel in 1950 and 1944 respectively. Amalia Barnea graduated from Bar Ilan University and is now a journalist with Yediot Aharonot, Israel’s most widely-read newspaper. Aharon Barnea has degrees in Near Eastern studies and Arabic language and literature from the Hebrew University and the University of California, Berkeley. In the Israel Defence Forces, he reached the rank of Captain in Intelligence. Mr Barnea was the first Press Attaché in the Israeli Embassy in Cairo. He is now director of the Middle East desk and Arab affairs correspondent for Israel Radio News. The Barneas live outside Tel Aviv with their two children.