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Shut Up, I'm Talking: And Other Diplomacy Lessons I Learned in the Israeli Government--A Memoir

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When twenty-five-year-old law student Gregory Levey applied for an internship at the Israeli Consulate, he got more than he’d bargained for. The speechwriter for the Israeli delegation to the United Nations quit, and Levey was asked to fill the vacancy. The situation got even stranger when he was transferred to Jerusalem to write speeches for Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. S When twenty-five-year-old law student Gregory Levey applied for an internship at the Israeli Consulate, he got more than he’d bargained for. The speechwriter for the Israeli delegation to the United Nations quit, and Levey was asked to fill the vacancy. The situation got even stranger when he was transferred to Jerusalem to write speeches for Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. Shut Up, I’m Talking is the startling account of Levey’s journey into the nerve center of Middle Eastern politics. During his three years in the Israeli government, Levey was repeatedly thrust into highly improbable situations. With sharp insight and great appreciation for the absurd, Levey offers the first-ever look inside Israeli politics from the perspective of a complete outsider, ultimately concluding that the Israeli Government is no place for a nice Jewish boy.


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When twenty-five-year-old law student Gregory Levey applied for an internship at the Israeli Consulate, he got more than he’d bargained for. The speechwriter for the Israeli delegation to the United Nations quit, and Levey was asked to fill the vacancy. The situation got even stranger when he was transferred to Jerusalem to write speeches for Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. S When twenty-five-year-old law student Gregory Levey applied for an internship at the Israeli Consulate, he got more than he’d bargained for. The speechwriter for the Israeli delegation to the United Nations quit, and Levey was asked to fill the vacancy. The situation got even stranger when he was transferred to Jerusalem to write speeches for Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. Shut Up, I’m Talking is the startling account of Levey’s journey into the nerve center of Middle Eastern politics. During his three years in the Israeli government, Levey was repeatedly thrust into highly improbable situations. With sharp insight and great appreciation for the absurd, Levey offers the first-ever look inside Israeli politics from the perspective of a complete outsider, ultimately concluding that the Israeli Government is no place for a nice Jewish boy.

30 review for Shut Up, I'm Talking: And Other Diplomacy Lessons I Learned in the Israeli Government--A Memoir

  1. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    I’m not sure how I feel about this book. It’s laugh out loud/read portions out loud to my husband funny. Lines like “I took the paper from the ambassador and started back to my office, silently praying that the gist of the U.N.’s official’s statement was that he had a fish in his pants” and “I had decided that I needed a break. At the end of the school year I would take some time off, leave New York, and volunteer to serve in the Israeli army. My reasons for this were somewhat complicated, but a I’m not sure how I feel about this book. It’s laugh out loud/read portions out loud to my husband funny. Lines like “I took the paper from the ambassador and started back to my office, silently praying that the gist of the U.N.’s official’s statement was that he had a fish in his pants” and “I had decided that I needed a break. At the end of the school year I would take some time off, leave New York, and volunteer to serve in the Israeli army. My reasons for this were somewhat complicated, but anyone who’s ever gone to law school will understand when I say that, at the time, the risk of being shot at or blow up by Islamic Jihad, or perhaps kidnapped by the Hezbollah and taken to Iran to be tortured and murdered, seemed almost preferable to the notion of continuing to suffer through another semester of [law school] classes.” Buuuutttt . . . there was also a callousness to the text that took me aback. Most of the people he dwells on are terribly dysfunctional and not terribly professional, and yet they’re well armed and highly placed. He might be right about them, but nothing in the text fills me with confidence he really understood the situations or individuals well enough to judge them. Came away with the sense that this guy was a holy fool wandering through halls he did not understand. Might make a good Terry Gilliam movie.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Lorelei

    Some of this book is so rolling-on-the-floor-laughing-my-face-off funny it seems impossible not to love it. But the writer is clearly so out of touch with so much of what he was right in the middle of that it is almost equally painful. I love getting to look through this window into how things work at the U.N. and at the Israeli mission, and so forth; but at the same time I have to filter what I am being told through the author's prejudices to try and find a sense of the people and the instituti Some of this book is so rolling-on-the-floor-laughing-my-face-off funny it seems impossible not to love it. But the writer is clearly so out of touch with so much of what he was right in the middle of that it is almost equally painful. I love getting to look through this window into how things work at the U.N. and at the Israeli mission, and so forth; but at the same time I have to filter what I am being told through the author's prejudices to try and find a sense of the people and the institutions that jibes with my not-so-white-anglo-persnickity understanding of how things work, especially in Israel. I could wish he could have set aside his fixed understanding of 'the way things work' to begin to see and become a part of a culture that is clearly so alien to him that he couldn't find any point of connection. There is so much good here that he missed, it makes me not sorry to see him go.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    Well, from the catchy title, you'd think I would have actually learned something about diplomacy from Mr. Levey. Alas, can't say that I did. The author ended up unexpectedly as a speechwriter (in the recent past) for various individuals in the Israeli government. In fact, I'm sure that I probably heard at least a sound byte or two of the speeches that he wrote. I kept reading this book until the end (it wasn't a difficult read), because I maintained the belief that there had to be a point to this Well, from the catchy title, you'd think I would have actually learned something about diplomacy from Mr. Levey. Alas, can't say that I did. The author ended up unexpectedly as a speechwriter (in the recent past) for various individuals in the Israeli government. In fact, I'm sure that I probably heard at least a sound byte or two of the speeches that he wrote. I kept reading this book until the end (it wasn't a difficult read), because I maintained the belief that there had to be a point to this book or that I would learn something about diplomacy in the Middle East that I didn't already know. The only thing I really learned is that the author seemed to have a really bad time with these speech-writing gigs. If I were going to speak with Mr. Levey, I would have to ask him (1) why did he keep going as long as he did? and (2) how has he come to terms with his obvious struggle his North American Jewish identity? Perhaps other readers of this book can help me answer these questions. If you're curious, then, by all means, read the book and let me know.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Craig Brantley

    Levy gives an insiders view of the Israeli government that proves to be as dysfunctional as we perceive our on to be. Its fascinating that someone of Levy’s background could end up inside the Prime Ministers office and have such access when he wasn‘t even a citizen. For him to be there during Sharon’s illness and Olmert’s transition to power adds to the drama and surreal nature of the story. I can’t imagine that the folks in Tel Aviv we very happy with the picture he paints, but in a way it make Levy gives an insiders view of the Israeli government that proves to be as dysfunctional as we perceive our on to be. Its fascinating that someone of Levy’s background could end up inside the Prime Ministers office and have such access when he wasn‘t even a citizen. For him to be there during Sharon’s illness and Olmert’s transition to power adds to the drama and surreal nature of the story. I can’t imagine that the folks in Tel Aviv we very happy with the picture he paints, but in a way it makes the situation in the middle east more believable. It proves that governments are made up of people with the same flaws and idiosyncrasies as we mere mortals. Anyone interested in world politics would enjoy this book.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Stacy Jensen

    Hilarious! I want to write like Gregory Levey. I love nonfiction that tells a fantastic story. Greg takes a very roundabout journey from Canadian attending law school in the United States and ends up working for the Israeli governement at the U.N. in the capacity of speech writer. You could not make stuff up this good.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Davida

    Funny and interesting but at the same time, kind of boring and not really as much insight or as funny as I would have liked. I'm a tough customer. Sorry. Or maybe this book's really just not that good! But it should win an award for its title! And here are two quotes I liked: Every time Levey takes a taxi to his job in the Prime Minister's Office, the taxi drivers give him advice. Here is some advice that made me laugh: "Tell the prime minister that I said that if he wants peace, he first has to cr Funny and interesting but at the same time, kind of boring and not really as much insight or as funny as I would have liked. I'm a tough customer. Sorry. Or maybe this book's really just not that good! But it should win an award for its title! And here are two quotes I liked: Every time Levey takes a taxi to his job in the Prime Minister's Office, the taxi drivers give him advice. Here is some advice that made me laugh: "Tell the prime minister that I said that if he wants peace, he first has to crush his enemies completely." From Levey's American fiancee, talking about Israelis: "They're a bunch of jerks until you need them. Then they're there to help." And finally, something I recognized in myself and many people I know: "There is a common type of conversation mockingly called 'Jewish geography,' in which one Jewish person gives a name or a long list of names to another to see if there is any mutual acquaintance, on the implicit theory that somewhere in the matrix of interlaced Jewish relationships, the two are connected. This little game had always aggravated me; it seemed primitive and tribal, and vaguely to confirm certain anti-Semitic cliches. I wouldn't have guessed this worldly prime minister of Israel engaged in it. 'Yeah, he was definitely from Toronto,' Olmert said, nodding thoughtfully and rubbing his chin. 'He got married last year?' I think we're getting a bit off topic here, I thought. Does absolutely EVERYBODY play this game?

  7. 5 out of 5

    Todd Mitchell

    Shut Up, I'm Talking was a great read. It was a bit like Office Space meets a a half-updated Catch-22. It was fun to follow Greg through Hebrew Day School as a child up into American Law School, then to the U.N. and finally through speech writing in Israel. He finds himself doing everything from herding the elderly about office buildings to firearms and spy training. All the while he masterfully points out the humor and absurdity present at each stop. I agree that the book also adds a bit of sta Shut Up, I'm Talking was a great read. It was a bit like Office Space meets a a half-updated Catch-22. It was fun to follow Greg through Hebrew Day School as a child up into American Law School, then to the U.N. and finally through speech writing in Israel. He finds himself doing everything from herding the elderly about office buildings to firearms and spy training. All the while he masterfully points out the humor and absurdity present at each stop. I agree that the book also adds a bit of startling insight about how off-balance things can really get in solely the very establishments we depend on to maintain order.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Dan

    I bought this, I think, because of the following story: the author made a Facebook group for fans of the book, and it got a huge number of members, more in fact than the number of books printed. He was very confused until he realized that people joining a group called "shut up I'm talking" probably weren't actually thinking about the book. Anyway this book is a mostly fluffy and light story about Middle East politics. The author accomplishes this by spending very little time on actual politics; i I bought this, I think, because of the following story: the author made a Facebook group for fans of the book, and it got a huge number of members, more in fact than the number of books printed. He was very confused until he realized that people joining a group called "shut up I'm talking" probably weren't actually thinking about the book. Anyway this book is a mostly fluffy and light story about Middle East politics. The author accomplishes this by spending very little time on actual politics; instead he spends most of the book complaining about his coworkers. So, this was not terribly enlightening but it kept my attention on the Caltrain. Four stars, meets expectations.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Chrisiant

    My aunt had this lying around at Thanksgiving and I picked it up in a happy accident. Levey wiggles his way into working at the Israeli Mission at the UN and then becomes a speechwriter for Ariel Sharon and moves to Israel. Along the way are fascinating anecdotes of the sheer wackiness of working with Israelis (some of the nearly unbelievable), ending up in surprise positions of power you aren't prepared for, and a window into the functioning of the UN and the Israeli government through a young My aunt had this lying around at Thanksgiving and I picked it up in a happy accident. Levey wiggles his way into working at the Israeli Mission at the UN and then becomes a speechwriter for Ariel Sharon and moves to Israel. Along the way are fascinating anecdotes of the sheer wackiness of working with Israelis (some of the nearly unbelievable), ending up in surprise positions of power you aren't prepared for, and a window into the functioning of the UN and the Israeli government through a young Canadian who's there almost by accident. Totally worth the read.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Ryan

    A really hilarious look into the working (and personal) life of a person who is working/living in a place that is completely dysfunctional. Anyone who is ever worked in a crazy and outrageous environment, and most people I know have, can easily relate to Gregory Levey's story on his life working for the Israeli government. The only issue is that the story is a little repetitive. While all the information within the book is humorous, it feels like each new story is just a derivative of a story yo A really hilarious look into the working (and personal) life of a person who is working/living in a place that is completely dysfunctional. Anyone who is ever worked in a crazy and outrageous environment, and most people I know have, can easily relate to Gregory Levey's story on his life working for the Israeli government. The only issue is that the story is a little repetitive. While all the information within the book is humorous, it feels like each new story is just a derivative of a story you read earlier in the book. However, very well written and definitely worth the read.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Turaaa

    It starts out good, with funny anecdotes and misunderstandings that derive from cultural differences between Israeli jews and the Canadian jewish author. But then, the author goes on and on,tediously complaining about his Israeli coworkers behaviour until the end of the book, without realizing (in my opinion) that the problem is not the Israelis, but his own disability to adapt and understand a culture only slightly different then his own. A better book\film on cultural missunderstandings is "Fear It starts out good, with funny anecdotes and misunderstandings that derive from cultural differences between Israeli jews and the Canadian jewish author. But then, the author goes on and on,tediously complaining about his Israeli coworkers behaviour until the end of the book, without realizing (in my opinion) that the problem is not the Israelis, but his own disability to adapt and understand a culture only slightly different then his own. A better book\film on cultural missunderstandings is "Fear and Trembling".

  12. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    There are many aspects of this book that make it enjoyable. It's funny and he tells his stories about his experiences very well. It also rings true, or anyway one can assume he isn't exaggerating for effect much. While primarily a collection of anecdotes about his experiences, it also has a kind of story line that develops that draws the reader in, too. And finally, it's quite up to date. The last events he described were only about a year prior to publication. There are many aspects of this book that make it enjoyable. It's funny and he tells his stories about his experiences very well. It also rings true, or anyway one can assume he isn't exaggerating for effect much. While primarily a collection of anecdotes about his experiences, it also has a kind of story line that develops that draws the reader in, too. And finally, it's quite up to date. The last events he described were only about a year prior to publication.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    This has to be one my top 10 favorite books now. It combines dealing with law school, dealing with Israelis, life in Israel, and the complete absurdity of the UN. (In fact, some of my favorite essays I ever wrote in law school were disparaging the UN for its treatment of Israel and the necessity of the security fence). So many points in his memoir I can seriously say, yes I have experienced that. Great writing style too, this guy is the Jewish Bill Bryson.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Ryan Heward

    Shut up is a book that I had fun reading. However I found that it got very repetitive about halfway through. I found that most of Gregory's stories played out the same after a while. Gregory did a great job of writing this book. His stories include just enough detail without dragging them down. This is a book I would not want to pay full price for however if you can get it at a discount I would recommend it because it is a fun and fast read. Shut up is a book that I had fun reading. However I found that it got very repetitive about halfway through. I found that most of Gregory's stories played out the same after a while. Gregory did a great job of writing this book. His stories include just enough detail without dragging them down. This is a book I would not want to pay full price for however if you can get it at a discount I would recommend it because it is a fun and fast read.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Marc

    The prequel to his second book: How to Make Peace in the Middle East in Six Months or Less. I liked this first book the best. A real, blemishes and all, peek into life in the Israeli Embassy in New York, working in the U.N., and finally working in the prime minister's office in Jerusalem. A great introduction to middle east politics,and sadly reveals while peace in the middle east may be harder to attain than even you thought. The prequel to his second book: How to Make Peace in the Middle East in Six Months or Less. I liked this first book the best. A real, blemishes and all, peek into life in the Israeli Embassy in New York, working in the U.N., and finally working in the prime minister's office in Jerusalem. A great introduction to middle east politics,and sadly reveals while peace in the middle east may be harder to attain than even you thought.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    For not being a big new watcher,or politics, or non-fiction, or autobiogrophies... Well...I loved this book. Absolutely hillarious. A comediacally disturbing look at the inner workings of the Israeli government from someone who found himself ensconced in said government partially by accident. A reccommend to everyone.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Kate

    Rather amusing account of a young man's stint as speech writer for the Israeli delegation to the U.N. and then for the Prime Minister's Office in Israel. He paints a picture of himself as a guy who was just walking along the street one day and suddenly finds himself working for a highly idiosyncratic and frustrating government. Rather amusing account of a young man's stint as speech writer for the Israeli delegation to the U.N. and then for the Prime Minister's Office in Israel. He paints a picture of himself as a guy who was just walking along the street one day and suddenly finds himself working for a highly idiosyncratic and frustrating government.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Snail in Danger (Sid) Nicolaides

    This was a mildly entertaining book. Readers should note that the author is an atheist, so if the idea of a secular Israel upsets you, you should probably skip this one. (Side note: I don't understand why a joke about Holocaust denial is okay for this book, but the specifics of a sexual joke are not.) This was a mildly entertaining book. Readers should note that the author is an atheist, so if the idea of a secular Israel upsets you, you should probably skip this one. (Side note: I don't understand why a joke about Holocaust denial is okay for this book, but the specifics of a sexual joke are not.)

  19. 5 out of 5

    Krisette Spangler

    This book is about the experiences the author has while working for the Israeli government at the United Nations and later in Israel. The stories are shocking, funny, and even outrageous at times. It's very well written, but I will warn you there are a few swear words scattered throughout the book. Despite this fact, it is one of the most enjoyable books I've read. This book is about the experiences the author has while working for the Israeli government at the United Nations and later in Israel. The stories are shocking, funny, and even outrageous at times. It's very well written, but I will warn you there are a few swear words scattered throughout the book. Despite this fact, it is one of the most enjoyable books I've read.

  20. 4 out of 5

    lisa

    this was interesting and well-written, especially since i know absolutely nothing about politics in the middle east and i never felt confused. i especially enjoyed the first half, with the stories about working with the UN. the second half, which takes place in israel, got bogged down a bit because of how wretched living and working there seemed to be.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Yvonne

    Hilarious, hard-to-believe-but-true account of how a 25 year old Canadian ends up as a speech writer for the Israeli Prime Minister. It makes you reassess any assumptions you may have about how Israeli (perhaps any country's) diplomacy really works. I laughed out loud many times while reading this book, which is so cleverly written and enjoyable to read. A great choice for quick, light reading. Hilarious, hard-to-believe-but-true account of how a 25 year old Canadian ends up as a speech writer for the Israeli Prime Minister. It makes you reassess any assumptions you may have about how Israeli (perhaps any country's) diplomacy really works. I laughed out loud many times while reading this book, which is so cleverly written and enjoyable to read. A great choice for quick, light reading.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Lauren

    This is the memoir of a Canadian who ended up working as the English-language speechwriter for Ariel Sharon because he was bored with law school. Humorous, but completely unsurprising to anyone familiar with Israelis and their government.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jocelyn

    The author, a Jewish Canadian, lands a job as a speechwriter for Israel for the United Nations. Through writing speeches and sitting in on UN meetings, the author shows how hilarious and dysfunctional the whole experience was.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    Reading this memoir has caused me to view the Israeli government as a kind of endearingly dysfunctional distant family member. Although the book is entertaining, the writing itself seemed somewhat amateurish and didn't really impress me. Reading this memoir has caused me to view the Israeli government as a kind of endearingly dysfunctional distant family member. Although the book is entertaining, the writing itself seemed somewhat amateurish and didn't really impress me.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Kate

    Shut Up, I'm Talking was one of the funniest books I have read. If you're looking for a very serious book about Isreal, I would not recommend this, but if you like well written memoirs, this would be one to check out. Shut Up, I'm Talking was one of the funniest books I have read. If you're looking for a very serious book about Isreal, I would not recommend this, but if you like well written memoirs, this would be one to check out.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Natalie

    This is a fun, funny read with the occasional serious note about Middle Eastern politics. You won't get a comprehensive view of Israeli politics, but you will be entertained. The tone of the book gets more bleak towards the end as the author becomes more jaded about the state of Israel. This is a fun, funny read with the occasional serious note about Middle Eastern politics. You won't get a comprehensive view of Israeli politics, but you will be entertained. The tone of the book gets more bleak towards the end as the author becomes more jaded about the state of Israel.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Erin

    One of my favorites. Love his writing, his outlook, his observations, his humor. I recommend it to everyone although feedback from some make me think that perhaps it's only appealing to a certain crowd. Some couldn't find the humor in it. One of my favorites. Love his writing, his outlook, his observations, his humor. I recommend it to everyone although feedback from some make me think that perhaps it's only appealing to a certain crowd. Some couldn't find the humor in it.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Claudia

    Even though it's a memoir (and I'm almost exclusively into fiction right now), I loved this book. So interesting to learn about the author's experiences at the UN and working for Ariel Sharon in Israel. I laughed out loud in several spots. Definitely worth the read. Even though it's a memoir (and I'm almost exclusively into fiction right now), I loved this book. So interesting to learn about the author's experiences at the UN and working for Ariel Sharon in Israel. I laughed out loud in several spots. Definitely worth the read.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Harold Citron

    My rating could have tipped further towards a 1-star rating. I wanted to like this book as its themes hit a number of subjects that hit the center of my interests. Unfortunately, Levey comes across as a stiff and uninterested protagonist in a world filled with one-dimensional characters. The book I compare this most closely too is Liar's Poker, by Michael Lewis. The two books have similar themes, a young man, unexpectedly thrown into an intense world where they are somewhat outsiders and fish ou My rating could have tipped further towards a 1-star rating. I wanted to like this book as its themes hit a number of subjects that hit the center of my interests. Unfortunately, Levey comes across as a stiff and uninterested protagonist in a world filled with one-dimensional characters. The book I compare this most closely too is Liar's Poker, by Michael Lewis. The two books have similar themes, a young man, unexpectedly thrown into an intense world where they are somewhat outsiders and fish out of water and learn to swim in the larger pond they find themselves. That's about where the similarities end. The critical differences between the two narrators is that Lewis creates a world with broader context and populates it with engaging characters who are well-rounded (or as well rounded as any group of Wall Street traders can be). Lewis You may not root for Lewis or the people he worked with, but you felt drawn into the life of a trader and the environment of Solomon Brothers during its heyday. The opening chapter of Liar's Poker grabs your attention from the outset. There is both tension and humor at play in the gamesmanship of the scene. Levey comes across as someone who shows little incentive or emotion towards either his job or the people who he works and lives with. He shows little desire or actual interest in any of his pursuits. He immediately distances himself from any attachment to Israel or the Jewish people right from the start. Rather than drawing you into the subject and reasons for why he does what he does, he runs from it. First, his parents, and their unhappiness with Israel, then Levey, and his unhappiness with his Jewish day school. He follows this with, not unhappiness, but boredom with law school, comparing it, unflatteringly, with being tortured and killed by Hizballah. And yet, despite this start, he decides that he is going to join the army, and not any army, like the Canadian one, or American one (since he is a Canadian citizen, and later, lives in New York during 9/11), but the Israeli one. Why? We don't know, and I don't think he even knew. Yet, for a man who planned on spending not just a significant amount of time in Israel, but in its military, he demeanor towards all things Israeli remains at a significant distance, save for repeated mild critiques. What is missing from this is any sort of understanding of what was going on. Either in his work life, or the broader society he and his fiance were living. Rather though, we get a level of disdain, by his repeated attempts to include catch phrases from Seinfeld in the speeches he prepared for various political leaders in Israel. Within his job, there is little insight to the vast array of characters that move in and out of the embassy and prime-minister's office. They are flat, almost caricatures, without depth or understanding. One example was a woman who worked right outside his office in the Israeli consulate, where she played a single video game all day for the entire time he was there. Yet, we don't know her name, and Levey apparently never bothered to learn it or even converse with her. The combination of all of this left me with a significant amount of why bother after reaching the end.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Ido

    This was a hilarious book - very much like Joel Chasnoff's "The 188th Cry Baby Brigade" detailing his experience in the IDF tank corps. Levey however brings that same level of hilarity and insight into the Israeli diplomatic corps and government. Originally hired for the job of speechwriter for Israel's deputy UN ambassador he eventually gets a job as a speechwriter for Ariel Sharon. He is funny from the start and it's somewhat scary that these people (not necessarily the top folks in the chain This was a hilarious book - very much like Joel Chasnoff's "The 188th Cry Baby Brigade" detailing his experience in the IDF tank corps. Levey however brings that same level of hilarity and insight into the Israeli diplomatic corps and government. Originally hired for the job of speechwriter for Israel's deputy UN ambassador he eventually gets a job as a speechwriter for Ariel Sharon. He is funny from the start and it's somewhat scary that these people (not necessarily the top folks in the chain of command) are actually out there making policy and engaging in diplomacy. I think one of the funniest items that Levey brings up is how every taxi driver - when they discover that he works in the Prime Minister's office - feels that he can relay an "important message" to the prime minister (when, in fact, Levey is just the speechwriter and rarely - if ever - speaks directly with the Prime Minister on a 1-to-1 basis). Everyone in Israel has an opinion of how something can be done better, how something is not right, how...just something! I definitely recommend this book for those who just want a small insight into the world of Israeli democracy and diplomacy. I'm not saying that its all this crazy - but Levey brings some very funny stories to the table which make this book so very much worth the time to read and enjoy.

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