Muhammed is the most popular boys' name in Israel, but Americans might not know that, even if they are frequent readers and viewers of news reports from the Middle East.
"I was not Sephardic, like I thought I was," said Iller Abramob, 21, of Forest Hills. "The things I learned about Israelis and Jews really affected me a lot. I didn't know that Israelis invented the Pentium chip and firewalls for computers."
Rosenthal, a former journalism professor, spent five years writing her book, compiling interviews from Israelis from all walks of life. In it, she writes about Arab Christians who run a daring, Cosmopolitan-style Arabic magazine, and points out that Arab Israelis are the most affluent and best educated of all Israelis.
"I decided to write this book to let Israeli people speak in their own words and smash stereotypes," the author said. In the book, she said, "you hear from Christian Jews, Arab Jews, Muslim Jews. These are the voices you don't hear on television."
The book - published in the fall of 2003 and now in its fifth printing - reveals that most Jews in Israel are of Middle Eastern descent, and that the nation is the Middle East's only country with a growing Christian population.
Rosenthal has been crisscrossing the U.S. lecturing college students about her book, which is filled with interviews with Israelis in their 20s and 30s and addresses issues ranging from homosexuality to Christmas.
Rosenthal said despite the fact that Israel receives more media coverage than China, India and all of Africa combined, Americans know very little about the country.
Just 18% of Jewish Americans have visited Israel, she notes.
Israelis Introduce Touch-Typing to Arab World by David Brinn
Most people take touch-typing on their keyboards for granted. But for Arabic-speaking students, a differently configured keyboard with Arabic characters has meant that traditional methods to teach touch-typing weren't applicable. This has all changed since Israeli company Sight & Sound developed the world's first touch-typing course in Arabic. They've successfully tested the course in a pilot program in Israeli Arab schools and hope to market it soon to the rest of the Arab world. (Israel21c)