I first met Boshra Khalaila in the Spring of 2010, at the Ministry of Public Diplomacy’s offices in Jerusalem. She was 24 at the time. Like me, she’d been alarmed by the public relations debacle that followed the Gaza flotilla incident and had somehow found her way to the Ministry’s hastily set-up Potemkin village of a situation room, to volunteer her time and do damage control, in Arabic.
I next saw her last January at the first preparatory meeting for the Faces of Israel program, which I have previously written about. She had again volunteered to defend her country and taken time off work to drive from Jerusalem, where she lives, to Tel Aviv for the preparatory sessions, a ritual she would have to repeat often. I was sent to California as part of that program. Boshra’s destination was South Africa — during Israel Apartheid Week.
In South Africa, she traveled to both Johannesburg and Cape Town, lecturing at four large university events that included a serious round of follow-up work — public discussions, five radio interviews, and a host of newspaper interviews.