From 8,000 feet, the houses of Gaza City seem peaceful, wreathed in low, wispy clouds, coming in from the sparkling blue Mediterranean. I bank right and begin spiralling downwards, aiming for the Hamas headquarters in the centre of town, where I will level out at 2,000 ft for my bombing run. Suddenly my vision is obstructed and the plane shakes and bucks. A pilot’s worst nightmare — bird strike! The single engine begins faltering. What do I do now? Carry on with the mission? Regain height? Bail out? How should I know, I am only a journalist.
Up in the clear, green spaces of the Galilee, it is easy to forget the stress and backbiting of urban Israeli life.
Rather, what matters in the remote north of the country is harmony, education and economics. Each is inextricably linked. Without education and a decent economy, the already small Jewish population of the region will decrease and decamp to the big cities. And the opportunities for a good education facilitate better relationships between Jewish and Arab citizens — and, ultimately, help to improve investment and thus the economy.
Thanks to two detectives from Strathclyde Police Force, Matilda ‘Tilly’ Gifford has become the most famous environmental campaigner in Britain.
The 24-year-old member of Plane Stupid, the direct action group that fights airport expansion, hit the headlines last weekend when she disclosed that the Scottish police had tried to recruit her as an informant, using a combination of intimidation and financial inducement.
Colin Jordan, who died this month aged 85, never escaped the margins of the British extreme right and never had more than a few hundred followers in any of the parties he led. Yet the tradition he represented remains an important influence on today’s British National Party.
Tel Aviv was founded on the second day of Passover, 1909. A crowd famously gathered on the dunes on April 11 and dreamed of the rise of an ir metropolinit — a modern Hebrew metropolis.
The new white city, inhabited by “the new Jew”, was established to be as far removed from the religiosity and squalor of Jerusalem as possible. It will therefore come as a surprise that one of its founders was Zerach Barnett, a strictly Orthodox Jew from London’s East End.
When Adam Ganz was a boy growing up in Oxford, all his friends would speak of what their dads had done in the war. It occurred to Ganz that he had no idea what his own father had done.
It was only many years later that he discovered his father, Peter, had been involved in a remarkable, top-secret operation in which hidden listening devices were used to eavesdrop on the conversations of the captured German generals housed in a mansion at Trent Park in Cockfosters, north London.
A rabbi in Gaza is not a common sight. The last time, to my knowledge, was in the 17th century. His name was Nathan of Gaza and he was waiting for the messiah.
On the Palestinian side of the improvised border checkpoint, the man wearing a kippah is causing a bit of a sensation. The Hamas police officers, five men crammed in a booth made of corrugated iron, are confused. They call their commander on the telephone, and he arrives an hour later. Four cars teeming with armed men stop in a cacophony of honking horns and screeching tyres.
Celebrity chefs are fervent in the belief that anyone — even the most culinary illiterate — can be taught to cook and serve food to a high standard. This week’s episode of The Apprentice proved that the gastronomes may have got that one wrong.
The task was to prepare meals for corporate clients. It sounded like the programme had suddenly morphed into MasterChef, but there were two fundamental aspects of business being tested here — the ability to provide impeccable customer service, and the ability to keep control over costs.
In 1996, Michael Greenberg’s 15-year-old daughter was, as he puts it, “struck mad”. “All the time Sally was hospitalised I could only sleep in 45 minute catnaps,” he recalls. “My hair went grey that summer.” Doctors diagnosed Sally’s condition as bi-polar 1, but Greenberg, a novelist from New York, expressly uses the word “madness” to describe her condition.
After a long career in the media spotlight of Premiership football, one would imagine that spending a quiet Sunday morning watching your son play a junior game in the park would be the perfect antidote to the intense pressure of the professional game. This is not the case, however, for former internationals Chris Sutton and Graeme Souness, who have both, in the past week, made headlines for using foul language to abuse referees at junior games involving their sons.