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True celebrations...Clever clogs

The Jewish Chronicle Leader column, October 13, 2017

    True celebrations

    Now that the Yom Tovim are (nearly) over, a secular festival looms.

    For some time, there have been fears that the centenary of the Balfour Declaration, which falls on 2nd November, would provoke a hate-fest towards Israel. Organisers of some of the planned events have been so worried that they have kept quiet about what they have arranged.

    The activists have certainly tried their best. Earlier this year there was a campaign to force the British government to apologise for the Declaration. But it has been a damp squib. Not only has the government been resolute that the centenary will be an occasion to celebrate rather than be ashamed of, the campaign has had almost no public impact.

    And although there are bound to be protests at some of the hundreds of celebratory events, it is already clear that the hate-mongers have failed to stir anyone except their fellow Israel-obsessives to anger. In three weeks, we can join together in happiness and solidarity — with Israel, with each other and with thanks for our nation’s role in the establishment of the state of Israel.

    Clever clogs

    For most of the world, the naming of a Nobel laureate prompts a scramble to find out what exactly they have done to merit their selection.

    But for the Jewish community, a more frequent question is: “How closely are we related?”. The famous statistic bears repeating: we make up 0.2 per cent of the world’s population but 20 per cent of Nobel prize winners.

    It sometimes feels as if we are more likely to have a laureate in the family than not.

     

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