Israel is embroiled in Middle Eastern geopolitics—that, at least, everyone knows. Israelis also aspire to be part of Europe and never miss a chance to reiterate their “special relationship” with the United States. But what about Africa, Israel’s next-door neighbor? For millennia, there has been a steady stream of people crisscrossing the region. On today’s show, we bring you the stories of two of them, journeying in different directions, and for very different reasons, out of—and then into—Africa.

Prologue: “Don’t Go Out With Him, He’s a Neanderthal!”
For more than three years now, Yuval Noah Harari has topped the best-seller lists in Israel. His book Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind is all about leaving Africa. Why do we care so much?

Act One: How Do You Say “Anne Frank” in Tigrinya?
In a makeshift library in Ethiopia, Yikealo Beyene—an Eritrean refugee—made an unlikely friend. Anne Frank’s harrowing tale stayed with him as he fled his country, crossed the Sinai Desert, and joined the growing community of African asylum-seekers in south Tel Aviv.

Act Two: White Suzuki Days.
For years, Danna Harman had been reporting the same old political stories for The Jerusalem Post. She wanted out. That’s how she found herself in Kenya, and that’s how she met Robert, her local driver. Their friendship, equal in some ways, completely lopsided in others, ended with one horrible, terribly confusing, incident.

Music in this episode comes from Blue Dot Sessions, John Deley and the 41 Players, Doug Maxwell, Podington Bear, Ballake Sissoko and Vincent Segal, and Silent Partner.

Listen to the full episode here, or download it from iTunes. You can hear all our English-language episodes here.