That Everton are even under discussion for fourth place is a miracle and – to the neutral – an unalloyed delight

Geographical Notes: A city that inspires affection and hatred

IN THE heat of the day Tel Aviv seems like any normal city, garish, noisy, dirty. But before the clamour of the day begins and after it has died down, the city seems to open up and has, like the light, a surprisingly gentle quality. This miracle occurs every day, and yet it never loses its sensational, sensuous effect. Even those who dislike Tel Aviv admit that this city has a special way of engaging all the senses: it heightens our seeing, hearing, smelling, feeling and touching, and also our imagination. This city is fascinating and alarming. More of the many people in Western Europe who engage in debate about Israel and the Middle Eastern conflict should make contact with this contemporary city, question it and listen to it.


Young Israelis are flirting, shopping, dancing - and draft-dodging - as never before. When Benjamin Netanyahu was defeated in last month's elections, they hailed the dawn of a more liberal and peaceful era. By Patrick Cockburn

Theatre: As it says in the good book...

Goodbye God-rock, farewell casts of millions. An Israeli production has reinvented the theatrical potential of the Bible.

`Mum went away a lot. We really missed her...'; A Family Affair

The writer and broadcaster Sarah Dunant has presented programmes on radio and television, including The Late Show. She is the author of six crime thrillers: the latest is Mapping the Edge. She currently lives with her daughters, Zoe, 11, and Georgia, 8, in north London, but used to spend long periods of time abroad, away from them

Walk this way

For the price of a cappuccino, you can celebrate the Millennium by walking on the surface of the Sea of Galilee, just as Jesus did almost 2000 years ago. The idea was conceived in a vision on the road to Tel Aviv by an Israeli showbiz lawyer and former tank commander. Safety net and lifeguards will be provided

Travel: Welcome to the promised land

Whether you're after shops, beaches, beauty treatments or desert treks, Tel Aviv has it all.

Dame Shirley sat primly as court heard of her `ruin'

IF A MARTIAN who had never heard of Dame Shirley Porter had wandered into the Royal Courts of Justice in London yesterday, he could have been forgiven for concluding that she was the victim of an appalling miscarriage of justice.

How I acquired Yehudi's fiddle BY ITZHAK PERLMAN Violinist

I first met Yehudi when I was about 10 or 11 and growing up in Tel Aviv. This would have been in the mid-1950s. He came to play with the symphony orchestra, and I got the chance to play with him at the house where he was staying. I don't remember what we played, just that that he was extremely sweet and kind, qualities I've always associated with him since. Even as a young boy I recognised a charisma that he had even when not on stage.

Basketball: Williams in the clear - for now

DERBY STORM'S England international, Yorick Williams, was yesterday cleared to play in the end-of-season play-offs by a joint appeal panel, but only at the cost of a further suspension hanging over his head until the end of February next year.

Travel: An oasis of calm in a stormy city

If you're going to Jerusalem, there's really only one place to stay - a luxury hotel with a unique history.

Israelis favour outsider for PM

ISRAEL'S ELECTION campaign opened yesterday with a dark horse, who has not yet entered the race or named his colours, leading the field.

Clinton swaps one crisis for another

PRESIDENT Bill Clinton arrived in Tel Aviv last night at the start of his landmark trip to the Middle East, where the Arab-Israeli peace process is in deep crisis. And with the House judiciary committee yesterday adding another article of impeachment - misuse and abuse of office - Mr Clinton's domestic fate now lies with the full House of Representatives. An eleventh-hour apology by the President (pictured hugging his daughter, Chelsea, in Washington yesterday), and a plea to be allowed to continue his work for the American people, failed to sway the committee. The prospect of a trial seemed to unsettle the markets, stirring fresh speculation about Mr Clinton's political survival.

Arts: Theatre: Hare comes face to face with his faith


First Night: Hare shows the worth of values

Via Dolorosa, Royal Court at the Duke of York's, London
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