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The business of reconciliation

While Israeli and Palestinian politicians dither, businessmen on both sides have begun to create their own facts on the ground

By Jo-Ann Mort   October 2007

“We must put a limit on the desire to imitate other countries,” proclaimed Eli Yishai, a deputy Israeli prime minister from the ultra-Orthodox Shas party. He threatened to fine book distributors who violated the sabbath. But Israel’s two largest book chains didn’t listen. They went ahead and opened on a Saturday last July to join in the global Harry Potter launch as thousands gathered in Tel Aviv and its suburbs. That’s because the majority of Israelis desire precisely what the deputy PM does not: normalisation.

In a nation where politics is a contact sport, Israel has found itself in an…

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