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Israel: Foreign Office is prejudiced

By Andrew Roberts, December 17, 2009

One area of policy over which the Foreign Office has traditionally held great sway is in the question of royal visits. It is therefore no coincidence that, although the Queen has made more than 250 official overseas visits to 129 different countries during her reign, neither she nor one single member of the British royal family has ever been to Israel on an official visit.

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The Charedim are not as uniform as we think

By Nathan Jeffay, December 17, 2009

Last Saturday, for the fifth week in a row, there was a Charedi protest outside Intel in Jerusalem — a show of fury against the computer-chip giant for keeping the plant running on Shabbat.

But Israelis’ interest in the protests seems to have declined. Demonstrators braving the cold to make their point have dwindled in number from 1,000-plus to around 200. Yet, if the issue is so fundamental --- multinational computer corporation under pressure to observe biblical law --- why has the campaign flagged?

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Who let Stacey in to sing?

By Simon Rocker, December 10, 2009

Many of you will have watched our video of Stacey Solomon’s triumphant return to her alma mater, King Solomon High School in Essex. How the pupils hollered when the X-Factor finalist treated them to a mini-concert.

But what was the Dagenham diva doing singing at a United Synagogue school at all? What about kol ishah, the rabbinical ban on lads hearing a woman’s voice? I didn’t see the boys’ ears covered to protect them from the sweet siren’s song.

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A charity that’s my cup of Chai

By Tracy-Ann Oberman, December 10, 2009

I have always been a bit of a hypochondriac. It’s not just a cold it’s ’FLU; I haven’t just put on a few pounds in weight, it’s a THYROID problem; it’s not just a headache, it’s a pulsating, hideous MIGRAINE; no, worse than that, it’s a BRAIN TUMOUR.

Since having my daughter, I am worse than ever. I lie in bed at night in a cold sweat, panicking about what the first signs of CANCER of the leg/mouth/ breast/career might be. Just writing the word cancer makes me nervous. It is one of those words like Auschwitz and Nazi that is visceral.

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Why we should stop messing with rubbish

By Jonathan Wittenberg, December 9, 2009

I once had a nightmare that someone stuck a sword through the sphere of the earth and blood was seeping out. Hours of waking anguish have convinced me this is no dream, but precisely what we are doing to our planet.

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How religious hypocrisy can hurt

By Denise Latner, December 9, 2009

The following two real-life scenarios which, taken together, are incomprehensible to non-Jews, might help to explain to anyone still wondering why JFS has found itself battling in the Supreme Court.

Scenario 1: Woman A, from an Orthodox background, marries out. Gives birth to two daughters, neither of whom acquires any knowledge of Judaism. But Woman A’s daughters are halachically Jewish and therefore eligible to attend JFS and marry in an Orthodox shul.

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Rushed? Take a London ambulance

By Peter Rosengard, December 3, 2009

The cardiologist was just threading 25ft of tiny Dyno-Rod plastic piping into my coronary arteries when he asked: “How much would a £1m life insurance policy cost me?”

“Just concentrate on what you’re doing, doctor,” I said. “Right now, the only life insurance policy likely to be paying out is mine.”

“You’re totally normal,” he said.

I was flattered — I’d never been called that before.

He asked me if I wanted a photo of my arteries.

“No,” I said. “I’ve still got the one from my colonoscopy.”

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Amnesty joins Israel-bashers

By Eric Lee, December 3, 2009

In recent months, Amnesty International in the UK has taken a sharp anti-Israel turn. This will be obvious to anyone who receives the organisation’s bi-monthly magazine, which now features articles bashing Israel in every single issue.

For example, last summer the magazine carried a long report on a visit by an Amnesty delegation to Israel and Palestine. It was an utterly one-sided account, reporting the suffering of Palestinians without even hinting at the possibility that Israelis too might be victims of the conflict.

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Jews and Muslims must both grasp the nettles

By Ed Kessler, December 3, 2009

Too often, when Jews talk to Muslims, we avoid the difficult issues, notably the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Instead, we each tend either to engage in friendly but essentially vacuous conversation or take delight in pointing out the other side’s faults (while ignoring our own).

Authentic dialogue must allow for sharp difference. It was unwillingness to tackle difference that led to a number of interfaith dialogue groups collapsing in the aftermath of the Gaza war.

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How to get back to Mid-East basics

By Linda Menuhin, December 3, 2009

Two months ago, my sister and I were delighted to accept a wedding invitation from an Iraqi family living in Amman, Jordan. The groom’s grandfather, a distinguished lawyer, had spent his internship with my father in Baghdad in the 1940s. A couple of years ago in London, I had approached this man to see if he could help unearth any clues about my missing father, who was kidnapped during the reign of Ahmed Hassan Al Bakr, Saddam Hussein’s predecessor, and of whom we have heard nothing since.

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