A football result
If only as payback for the Balfour Declaration, England expects Israel’s footballers to do their duty on Saturday in Ramat Gan. As even the soccer-phobic must now be aware, England requires Israel to avoid defeat to Russia to keep alive domestic hopes of qualification for Euro 2008. This dependence has resulted in an almost unheralded level of support for Israel among the general population. There has even been the odd inducement, with a bookmaker offering a £50,000 Mercedes to an Israeli scoring the winner against Russia. But as that same bookmaker has the Russians odds-on for victory, it is probably best not overly to raise our expectations. At least the post-Shabbat kickoff will be a bonus for observant fans disappointed at the Saturday afternoon start time for Israel’s recent game at Wembley.