First a correction to an earlier statement. I said that the Orthodox mandate separate burial sectors for males and females. Turns out this is no longer quite true.

First a correction to an earlier statement. I said that the Orthodox mandate separate burial sectors for males and females. Turns out this is no longer quite true. Today double layer graves are allowed. A married couple may be buried together, one on top of another, a slab separating the two. A mother and daughter may also, a father and son, presumably (haven’t checked) a pair of sisters or brothers. However, if the married couple is same gender, I suspect there might be problems and the deceased may have to haul the funeral organization to court. Good luck. More ways than one. However, if two same gender relatives may be buried together, perhaps over time the concept might be stretched to any two consenting same gender people. Tactfully quietly of course.

Among Israel’s unsung gems is a little church, some 90ft x 90ft (eye measured), the Stella Maris on Haifa’s Carmel mountain, at its western-most point . If ever in ‘Haifa, don’t miss it. Some 60 years after having heard of it, I finally went there today. The commuter rail system covers much of the country, is very comfortable and is a true time saver. However: in ‘Haifa, beware of the ride in a bus. The buses are too big for the roads, and only now is the bus company experimenting with vans. If in a bus, you really do get jerked around.

You may have heard of the 305 or so Sufi Muslim worshippers murdered by the extremist Daesh Muslims in Egypt’s Sinai, a couple of days ago. In TelAviv, Town Hall was lit up with a gigantic flag of Egypt, using the windows as pixels. Message: We’re together in the war against terror! On the practical side, the Israeli and Egyptian militaries are cooperating. Had anyone predicted that in 1948, 1956, 1967, 1973, or any time through 10 years ago, they would have been laughed off the scene. Yet! Yes, the MidEast is the original Land of Miracles.

For people interested in international developments and predictions, I say watch the Kurds over the next dozen years. Another but smaller group are the Druze, in south former Syria, Lebanon, and Israel. As for the Saudi-Iran visceral hatred, there is no foreseeable end to this, as it has roots in pre-history, far before the 1,300 years of Islam. The Russians have no idea in what they are getting mired. A veritable political tarpit!

Oh, the prediction is that most of Israel’s electrical needs (for some 7 million people) will in a few years be completely supplied by renewables. If Israel can do it, so can every country or section of country blessed with lots of sun and wind.

The country is a marvel of social integration. A visitor cannot but be astonished. And it is not only between Jewish citizens from all regions on Earth, but also between Jews and non-Jews including foreign workers. Yes, some are exploited, but the social forces at work minimize that. Public opinion simply does not allow such nonsense. Jewish-Arab integration in ‘Haifa is near absolute. Arab kids speak Hebrew with total Jewish-Israel inflection and slang. Cultural assimilation is huge. Lots of TV stations speak solely Arabic, and some are purely Israeli. Political assimilation/integration is also enormous: Israeli-Arab women leaders are calling for active police intervention to reduce street crime by Arab crime families, and by street toughs. Specifically requested is intervention to reduce home violence including the thousands-years-old “honor” murders. This is a momentous departure from earlier times. Truly revolutionary. What I predicted 50 years ago is coming true. (Will anyone pin a medal on my bare chest? Ouch!).

Oh yes, the kids are into smartphones and hi-tech, but not addicted. After-school activities in teen youth organizations are the norm, and not a phone in sight. Yes, the organizations are organized along political party lines, but the kids learn, play, and get discipline the soft way.

Now to the really important thing: the milk-based products offered in the “supers” (supermarkets) are a multitude. They are based on recipes (or is it Rx’s?) from literally all over the world, but especially the Balkans. Fresh and variety, and my tongue is slobbering. So forgive me, but I’m going shopping.

Harry Shamir, Plymouth, in Cfar Saba, Israel