Reporters on the Job

Gently, in Arabic: Reporting on an exiled leader calling for his government's overthrow requires extra sensitivity, says correspondent Rhonda Roumani.

Does she have any tactics for coaxing reluctant individuals to talk?

"No, no tactics," says Rhonda. "In the end, they have to trust you.... I'm hesitant to make people go on the record because I don't want to be responsible for anything that happens."

But she also adds that sharing a common language and background may help put people at ease. As a Syrian who grew up in the US, Rhonda speaks Arabic - but is still working to improve it.

"It's a bit different when you're using political and economic language - not quite the kind of conversations you have at the dinner table," notes Rhonda.

Stalled, but Looking Forward: This isn't the first time Israelis' hopes for peace have been clouded by a leader's untimely downfall, says correspondent Rafael Frankel, noting former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin's 1995 assassination.

"There's this underlying feeling that every time something is going the right way, it all of a sudden tragically shifts," says Rafael.

Despite Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's controversial past, he has come to be seen - by many, at least - as the man who can lead Israel forward.

"People haven't necessarily totally forgiven him, but they're willing to overlook the past because they think he's far and away the best hope for the future," Rafael explains.

Christa Case
Europe editor

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