Program 254a: Flirtatious France; Walk Across Israel

Release Date: 02-23-2013

On Air Description

What's it really like to live inside another culture?  On this week's Travel with Rick Steves, two American journalists explain what they've discovered by living in Paris, and by walking across Israel.  Join us, as Elaine Sciolino (sho-LEAN-oh) explains the many ways seduction operates as part of day to day life in France.  And  Martin Fletcher describes what a good long walk down the coast of Israel showed him after 30 years of reporting from the Middle East. 

It's on the next Travel with Rick Steves. 

Notes to Stations

This is a re-edit of Pgm #254, which first aired July 23, 2011.

  • A reminder that if your station will be fundraising during Travel with Rick Steves, in addition to using the customary fall and spring funder modules, you can contact producer Tim Tattan for suggested cutaway cues during any week's edition of the show.  This will give you additional fundraising time during the hour, with clean ins and outs, while retaining most of the weekly program.  (We intend to produce another hour's worth of fundraising modules in time for the April coordinated fundraising week.) 


  • Paris-based journalist Elaine Sciolino, author of "La Seduction" (Times Books - Henry Holt & Co.)
  • NBC News special correspondent Martin Fletcher, author of "Walking Israel" (Thomas Dunne Books)
  • Dispatch filed from Thailand from adventure cyclist Willie Weir 

Related Links


(none this week)

Incidental Music

  • Michel Legrand / Claudine Meunier, "La Terrase du Cafe," and "Dans Le Magasin," from the soundtrack to "Les Parapluis de Cherbourg" ("The Umbrellas of Cherbourg") / Sony Music Entertainment (France)
  • Michel Legrand, "I Love Paris," Jazz in Paris - Paris Jazz Piano / SSC
  • Blossom Dearie, "Boum," My Gentleman Friend / Verve
  • * Orchestre du Capitole de Toulouse, Michel Plasson, cond., "Le Picadillyl (Satie)," Satie: Orchestral Works and Transcriptions / EMI Classics
  • Jump with Joey, "Look Away," Come…Jump with Joey / Ryko
  • Mark Pinkus, "A Country Far Away," Travel Light / (self-released)
  • Yuval Ron Ensemble, "Hanoded (The Wanderer)," Tree of Life / (self-released)
  • Sheva, "Ashrey Ha'ish," Israel (collection) / Putumayo
  • * Jazz Jamaica, "Theme from 'Exodus'," Double Barrel / Hannibal
  • Josem, "Chabad Chassidim" (arranged by Armonia Serrano), Josem: 20 ans / (self-released) (France)
  • Sheila Bazleh & Alexi Reznick, "Dokhtar-e Bueir Ahmadi," Portraits in Sound vol 1: A Collection of World Music (collection) / World Domination Recordings
  • Aliza Gabai, "Artzeinu haktantonet (Our Tiny Land)," Israeli Songs from the 50s, volume 2 (collection) / Musical Ark
  • Osamu Kitajima, "Small Wonder," Behind The Light / Higher Octave
  • Recording of traditional Thai melody, sung by unnamed blind singer at Chang Mai market, is courtesty of Willie Weir
  • Haunted By Waters, "Like the Dust," Portraits in Sound vol 1: A Collection of World Music (collection) / World Domination Recordings

Dated References

  • In some of his guest re-sets, Rick talks about the "new" books written by Elaine and Martin.
  • Elaine recounts, starting at 17:40 in segment A, an introduction to then-president of France Jacques Chirac in 2002, when the US and France were disputing policy over Iraq.
  • In his segment B intro for Martin Fletcher, Rick notes Martin is "a special correspondent for NBC News."
  • At 21:20, Martin mentions the West Bank as "the green line" divider between Israel and Palestine, and how the 110 mile-long Mediterranean shore of Israel is a different experience. 
  • Martin responds to Rick at 24:00 by saying there is a war in Israel "every ten years" but that it is an otherwise safe place to visit. He then elaborates on the "uptight" atmosphere in Israel, and mentions a restaurant fee that some businesses charge to help deter the cost of protecting against suicide bombings.
  • At 24:53, Martin says the tight security measures on El Al Airlines gives it a record as "the safest airline in the world."
  • At 25:35, Martin notes there is a hiking trail across Israel from north to south, but that the little-used coastal trail he took requires zig-zagging to follow the coast, since about 30% of the shoreline is not accessible, due to military and industrial concerns. He adds he planned to do the walk in February or March, but was delayed until the hot months of summer.
  • At 33:12, Martin says Eli Avivi is still operating his self-proclaimed "independent state" in the former homes of Palestinians who were chased out in 1948, but who still believe they will get to return to their family homes and properties. He further explains how many Arabs in Israel are often economically disadvantaged, and live as a minority group inside Israel. At 34:14, he says that 20% of the population of Israel are Arabs, and that they're starting to gain representation in the government of Israel.
  • At 37:00, Martin says he's been a reporter for about 40 years, and has lived in the Middle East for the past 30 years. He adds that he thinks his book is "by far the deepest reporting I've done."
  • In the open of segment C, at 30:30, Martin says he resigned from being a bureau chief at NBC News "a year ago."
  • At 41:00, Martin notes that 70% of the population of Israel lives in the coastal plain, but that we usually only hear about residents in the contested inland areas.
  • Starting at 41:52, Martin counts the staff reductions of news correspondents stationed in Israel by the major American networks in recent years: NBC is down from a staff of 17 to 2, CBS is down from 17 to one freelancer, and ABC is down to one reporter, based in London. He notes that newspapers have also made many cutbacks, and are relying more now on local correspondents than their own, who use Facebook, Twitter, and other social media of questionable reliability for self-generated reports. Martin and Rick later discuss how US network anchors make as much as 8 to 15 million dollars annually.
  • At 46:10, Martin notes Israel is one of the few western countries with mandatory military service. He adds it's becoming harder to convince young Israelis that they need to serve three years of compulsary military service, and that 15% of soldiers find a way to leave the army early.
  • Rick raises the changed role of the kibbutz at 49:00. Martin replies that most have gone bankrupt or been turned into privatized commercial enterprises.