I have to face it. Choosing to put an image of not just an Arab guy but an Arab guy wearing a shirt with Arabic writing on the cover of Elska's first Israeli issue could be button-pushing. But when George told me the word meant 'love', I knew it would have to be the cover. After all 'elska' means 'love' in Icelandic, and that's a pretty good message for a country in need of lots of love between its people.
However, perhaps due to working a bit too much, I failed to ever actually check if the word on his shirt really did mean 'love'. I don't know Arabic at all, though I'm pretty sure I could recognise the word for 'halal' from all the chicken, pizza, and kebab shops I was surrounded by in London. Anyway, I'd already sent Elska Haifa to the printers without checking. It could have been a huge disaster if it had meant something else!
Finally I checked it, a couple weeks after printing, and it looks like it means 'I love you' rather than simply 'love'. I'm OK with that. After all, 'elska' is the verb form of 'love'; it's the way you'd write it if you were saying 'I love you'. I suppose it could have been a disaster if it said "fuck you" or something, but I came off lucky I guess!
See more of George N and read his story in our Elska Haifa edition.