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Israel’s clocks

Israel approaches its 50th anniversary next year as one of the most divided countries in the world. Geoffrey Wheatcroft talks to ex-prime minister Shimon Peres, revisits the history of Zionism, and considers which is the more divisive: proportional representation or the bombs of Hamas

On a ravishingly clear September morning I was about to set off to interview the previous Israeli prime minister, when I decided on a whim to go to church. The Anglican cathedral was just down the Nablus road, and in this beautiful, troubled country-so much beset at present by what Shelley called “bloody faith, the foulest birth of time”-it seemed an apt sentimental gesture to support the poor old C of E, which at any rate hasn’t killed anyone for a long time.

Having reached the cathedral just before the advertised service at 8am, I sat down. Nothing happened. There…

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