Coronavirus Britain Israel 

Israel’s lockdown can be a model for Britain

For the past 12 days I have been under effective house arrest in Jerusalem. That’s because, just over two weeks ago, Israel started requiring everyone arriving in the country, even if they were citizens, to self-isolate for 14 days. Now all foreign visitors with no place of permanent residence are banned. My husband joined me in isolation at our place here a week ago. When I emerge into the world again this week I will be allowed out only for a limited range of activities such as obtaining essential food…

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betting Britain 

Charity doesn’t begin in the betting shop

The Alzheimer’s Society is working with the bookmaker William Hill to help make its betting shops a “safe haven” for people with dementia. This is surely a joke in poor taste? No. The bookmaker has pledged to raise £2 million for the charity over a three-year partnership. It says it’s committed to becoming “the leading dementia-friendly betting and gaming organisation”. That’s quite some selling-point. According to William Hill’s annual report: “Health and wellbeing is a strong focus across the group. We are helping those with dementia to sustain their normal…

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Phillips Britain Culture wars Jewish people 

What will Jewish leaders say about Trevor Phillips?

The veteran anti-racist campaigner and former head of the Equalities and Human Rights Commission, Trevor Phillips, has found himself accused by his own Labour party of Islamophobia. The case is grotesque. Phillips has done much for British Muslims. And none of the accusations against him meets any reasonable test of bigotry. His allegedly “Islamophobic” comments are for statements over issues such as the Pakistani Muslim grooming gangs, or polling which found that a quarter of Muslims were “sympathetic” to the aims of the terrorists who killed the Charlie Hebdo journalists…

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Coronavirus Britain Israel 

In the coronavirus debate, one striking omission

In Britain, the government is being criticised over its strategy for dealing with the coronavirus pandemic. Its critics claim that it is not doing enough to produce “social distance” by restricting public contact. They point to other countries which have imposed much more draconian policies such as banning large public meetings or shutting schools. The former health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, who has said he finds the government’s approach “surprising and concerning’, expressed particular surprise  “that we’re still allowing external visits to care homes”. In response, the government’s scientific advisers say…

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Iran Britain Global conflict Israel USA 

Will a microbe seal the fate of Iran’s virulent regime?

The point about events that catch us unawares is that we are never prepared for the unexpected to happen. Who would have thought that the entire world would suddenly be destabilized by one microbe? It will take some time before people grasp the likely social, political and economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic. But it is already altering the landscape and knocking previous assumptions off-course. Until a few days ago, attention in the United States was focused on whether the Democrats could find a plausible candidate to beat President Donald…

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revolutionary Britain Culture wars 

The left is eating itself in a trans culture war

The Guardian has been convulsed after publishing an article by its longstanding columnist Suzanne Moore. Its appearance triggered a letter of protest to the editor, signed by 338 Guardian and Observer employees. Getting on for half the workforce thus believe that their readers should not have been allowed to see what Moore wrote. Cue a blazing row at The Guardian’s editorial conference, with one trans member of staff claiming as a result to be too frightened to go to work. This employee subsequently resigned after reportedly receiving anti-trans comments from…

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Britain Israel USA 

The real centre ground: the only political show in town

Democracy, the process through which the people get to choose who governs them, involves a choice of leaders telling competing stories about how the world should be organized. A healthy society, we have told ourselves, involves regularly changing those leaders and their stories to provide the checks and balances essential to avoid the dangers inherent in one-party rule. In Israel, the United States and Britain, that process has stalled. The reason is that, in all three countries as elsewhere in the west, the story offered by the progressive side of…

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fathers Britain 

We need to talk about absent fathers and crime

At the weekend, a 16-year-old boy died in Coventry from stab wounds and a man in his twenties was fatally stabbed in north London. Last week, a police officer put her helmet above the parapet on this issue. Jackie Sebire, assistant chief constable for Bedfordshire who leads on serious violence for the National Police Chiefs’ Council, said some young people who lacked the “protective factor” of a father figure looked up to drug dealers and gangsters instead. Of course, many factors contribute to crime; its causes are complex, and it…

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Heathrow Britain 

It’s ministers not judges who are skidding off the policy runway

The Court of Appeal’s ruling over Heathrow airport’s mooted third runway has reignited in some quarters the already highly combustible fury in Britain over judicial activism. The court has ruled that it was unlawful for the government to have given its approval to the construction of a third runway at Heathrow without taking into account its own obligations under the Paris agreement to reduce carbon emissions to net-zero by 2050. Cue outrage from commentators who believe that, without a third runway to expand Heathrow, the UK will gravely damage its…

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Sussex Britain 

Infantile Harry and Meghan have let down the Queen

When the Duke and Duchess of Sussex agreed the terms on which they would relinquish their royal duties, few surely thought this would be an end to the matter. The ultimatum they had previously laid down, which meant milking the royal brand while undertaking few of the responsibilities involved, indicated they would hardly take kindly to being told they couldn’t publicly use their HRH titles. When they were told last Friday that in addition they could no longer use their brand name “SussexRoyal”, a renewed hissy fit was on the…

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