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The Week
The Week

The Week Unwrapped: National service, Bahrain and Roman Polanski

Should we all serve country and community? Can Bahrain and Israel be allies? And has history finally caught up with a legendary director?

Olly Mann and The Week delve behind the headlines and debate what really matters from the past seven days. With Leaf Arbuthnot, Abdulwahab Tahhan and Harriet Marsden.

You can subscribe to The Week Unwrapped wherever you get your podcasts:

In this week’s episode, we discuss:

National service

The think tank Onward has proposed the reintroduction of national service, in a radically different new form. It would be voluntary, for a start, and separate from the military. The stated aim is to “develop skills, improve mental wellbeing, and increase a sense of belonging among Britain’s youth”, but the reaction appears to have reopened a generational divide. Could any form of collective activity help to bridge it?

Bahrain and Israel

On Monday, Israel opened an embassy in Bahrain, marking the culmination of a process that began three years ago with the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two. The agreement was one of a series known as the Abraham Accords, which also normalised relations between Israel and the UAE, Morocco and Sudan. How significant is this step, and will it help pave the way to a deal with Saudi Arabia?

Roman Polanski

When the Venice Film Festival chose to present Roman Polanski’s new film, it sparked widespread backlash. The director is a fugitive from US justice, having fled the country after pleading guilty to raping a 13-year-old girl in 1977. The festival’s artistic director justified the decision to include “The Palace”, saying Polanski was “one of the last great masters of European cinema”. But the reviews are in – and the film has bombed. Is Polanski’s career finally cancelled? And can great art excuse bad artists?

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