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Yuval Noah Harari: the world after coronavirus | Free to read

You could, of course, make the case for biometric surveillance as a temporary measure taken during a state of emergency. It would go away once the emergency is over. But temporary measures have a nasty habit of outlasting emergencies, especially as there is always a new emergency lurking on the horizon. My home country of Israel, for example, declared a state of emergency during its 1948 War of Independence, which justified a range of temporary measures from press censorship and land confiscation to special regulations for making pudding (I kid you not). The War of Independence has long been won, but Israel never declared the emergency over, and has failed to abolish many of the “temporary” measures of 1948 (the emergency pudding decree was mercifully abolished in 2011).

Ultra-Orthodox Jewish Newspaper Edits Female World Leaders Out of Charlie Hebdo March | Mediaite

Evidence for rising intolerance in France

Nearly 7,000 French Jews moved to Israel this year, more than double the figure from the previous year.

Between a rock and a hard place

A Jew applied for a visa to leave for Israel. During an interview at the passport office, the official asked, "Why do you want to leave the best country in the world?" "I have two reasons," the Jew answered. "One is that my neighbor is an anti-Semite, and when he's drunk, he knocks at my door and shouts, 'Just wait, as soon as the Soviet regime is over with, we kill you, Jews!" "But you shouldn't worry," the official said. "The Soviet state is forever." "That is my second reason," the Jew said.

Rules for Jewish conversion in flux

Not long ago, Israel passed legislation that intended to make Jewish conversions less difficult. The bill’s final form, however, gave the chief rabbinate control over the approval of all conversion certificates; this compromise will result only in more bureaucratic mix-ups and disagreements about the converts’ legitimacy — and their right to invoke the Law of Return, by which countless Jews have found safe haven and refuge in Israel.The Rabbinical Council of America, which oversees Orthodox conversions, strictly adheres to the chief rabbinate’s standards. For example, unmarried conversion candidates are often required to refrain from dating until their conversion is approved, a process that can take years. Many candidates are required to move to Orthodox neighborhoods and enroll their children in full-time private Jewish day schools — a formidable financial obstacle.
A new kind of conversational shorthand has appeared in Moscow: “What’s your month?” people ask one another. They mean the month for which you are signed up for an interview at the Israeli embassy to receive initial immigration documents. The nearest available slot for people booking an appointment now reportedly is in November, but most of my friends have appointments in August or September. Even getting an appointment is an ordeal: The embassy’s phone lines are so overburdened that getting through to the right department can take hours. And according to a recent, leaked picture, inside the embassy, it is a mob scene reminiscent of 1990-91, the peak years of the Soviet Jewish exodus.