Berlin - Arye Sharuz Shalicar used to be part of a gang in Wedding. Then he joined the German army, went to university, and became a spokesperson for the Israeli army. He now writes books in his freetime.

Born in 1977 and raised in Wedding as a child of Iranian jews, he founded the Berlin Crime grafitti crew in the '90s. He was repeatedly subjected to antisemitic attacks and insults from both his fellow gangmembers and classmates.

However, he says it was his Muslim friends who protected him from antisemites.

"It was half-and-half. Some of them wanted to ruin my life. And they would have killed me if they could have. The others were my close friends - mostly Turks, but also Kurds and Lebanese. Even people from the notorious Al-Zein clan," he says. 

Also a bestselling author

To Germans he was a Kanake, a slur for non-Germans, and for Muslims he was a Jew - and for the Jews a hood from Wedding, he says. "I didn't want to live that kind of life anymore."

Shalicar instead graduated from Gymnasium and completed basic training in the German army. He learned Hebrew and emigrated to Israel in 2001, where he did his mandatory service in the Israeli army. He studied international relations, Middle Eastern history and politics at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and graduated with honours in 2009.

He then returned to the military, where he rose to the rank of major as an official spokesman for the Israeli army. He even worked in the prime minister's office for about four years. In May, when Israel was attacked with thousands of rockets from the Gaza Strip, he again stepped in as spokesman for the Israel Defense Forces and was a contact person for German-language media.

"And if we're attacked again, I'll put my uniform back on," says the reservist.

Arye, left, in Wedding in the '90s.

Outside of work, he is active as a writer and is a guest columnist for various media. In 2010, Shalicar released his first German-language book, A Wet Dog Is Better Than a Dry Jew. The book became a bestseller and the movie version is scheduled to launch this summer. In 2018, he published the German-language book The New German Antisemite - Do Jews Belong to Germany Today?

His third German title, 100 Tips to Master Life, Even if You're from the Ghetto, will be released in October.