Charedi dependency that brews resentment

By Mordechai Beck, January 27, 2011

Shoshana Chen is a charedi grandmother, living in Israel. She recently wrote an open letter to her grandchildren in the Yediot Ahronot newspaper. In it, she expressed her difficulty in understanding why these grandchildren were the subject of such hatred by much of the Israeli population, "not only because you were born Jewish, but also because you were born charedim". What is really surprising about this is that Mrs Chen was surprised.


Tunisia, and our black and white mentality

By Nick Cohen, January 21, 2011

Every morning I read The Times, the Guardian, the Telegraph, the Financial Times and the Independent. I stay with the Today programme until Radio 4 drives me away by insulting my intelligence with Thought for the Day and look at the Economist and the New York Times if I have a moment. But I knew nothing about Tunisia.


Organ donation in Jewish law

By Lord Jonathan Sacks, January 20, 2011

The controversy over organ donations may have left some people confused, so I want to set out the position.

First, are organ donations a good thing, and does Judaism approve? The answer in general is yes. Saving a life is a fundamental imperative in Judaism and, if we can do so without endangering our own lives, we should.


A cruel cut below the rest

By Norma Brier, January 20, 2011

Jenny lives in a Norwood residential home at Ravenswood Village, in Berkshire. She loves to visit her relatives, some 70 miles away, by travelling regularly in an adapted wheelchair. During the week, she attends college locally and in the evenings goes to the cinema or to friends. All these activities and her summer holidays are possible only with specialised transportation.


Heads in the sand can't work

By Norman Lebrecht, January 20, 2011

Last Saturday, the Guardian devoted a two-page spread to Linda Grant and her new novel, We Had It So Good, which is drawing the kind of praise most writers don't see before their obits. Grant has been involved with the paper for much of her adult life and the article was generally affectionate - until the interviewer hit upon her late-onset love for Israel, at which point the narrative went into an extraordinary contortion to explain that she was still a good person, really.


Bless you, thank you, goodbye

By Peter Rosengard, January 17, 2011

Last Tuesday morning I went to get a tube of toothpaste from my chemist, off Bond Street. A handwritten sign in the wood-framed olde worlde shop window read: 'We wish to thank all our loyal customers…' They'd closed down. Unbelievable! They'd been there forever. I was last there on Christmas Eve.

"Yoshi," I'd said to the man behind the counter. "Which is the Colgate toothpaste? The one without the red or the blue stripe in the middle - the pure white one?"

"I don't know."

"What do you mean you don't know? You've been selling toothpaste since you were a teenager."


Perils of in-flight hechshers

By Michael Freedland, January 17, 2011

These days, when air fares are going up with every yard that a plane rises into the deep blue yonder, there is one boast that the airlines still love to make: "If you have a dietary requirement, we'll meet it. Vegetarian? We'll get it. Gluten? Of course. Halal? Salaam, if not salami. Kosher? Absolutely."

That is, they'll absolutely put it down in their records. But actually getting a piece of kosher meat on a tray is a matter frequently laden with difficulty.


Deputies' bloody Sunday?

By Simon Rocker, January 17, 2011

It is two months since UJIA chairman Mick Davis took the community by surprise with the vehemence of his critique of the Israeli government. He said that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu lacked the courage to advance the peace process, described some Knesset bills as offensive and warned that Israel faced becoming an apartheid state if there were no two-state solution.


Acts like this destroy democracy

By David Newman, January 13, 2011

The delegitimisation of Israel reached a new peak last week with continued attacks on its democracy. But this time the damage was not done by private groups or foreign governments and anti-Israel lobbies. This time the worsening of its reputation as a state which values democracy and freedom of speech was caused directly by members of the Knesset.

No, not by Arab MKs critical of the occupation, but by extreme right-wing MKs, self-proclaimed super-patriots who falsely portray themselves as its defenders.


Time to hold these groups to account

By Gerald Steinberg, January 13, 2011

Politicised NGOs funded by European governments have powerful impacts on Israeli domestic politics and on the conflict. For many years, their influence was protected from debate but, last week, the Knesset voted to establish a committee to examine this controversial issue.

A credible and non-partisan evaluation of foreign government funding for political NGOs is long overdue. Whether the Knesset framework will meet these criteria remains to be seen.