John Brennan’s first encounter with Israel left a distinctly unfavorable impression. On a cold winter night in December 1975, the 20-year-old, who had just visited Jordan, arrived at the Allenby Bridge to enter Israel as a tourist. Brennan, an American student at the American University in Cairo, wanted to see the Holy Land and learn about Israel and the region in depth. At passport control he asked an Israeli soldier who was on duty not to stamp his passport, so he would be able to continue his travels in the Middle East unhindered. “Don’t tell me what to do,” was the impolite retort – some would say the characteristic response, reflecting the feeling of a conqueror.