Nothing like leaving a country to make people sit up and take note when you come back for a visit.
Not a complaint: this is just human nature.
Three and a half years ago, whilst participating in an educators conference at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem
I was asked to do something very difficult for me, as I am first and foremost a teacher and not a journalist.
I was asked to return to the UK and put my head above the parapet, suffer the attacks of the established UK Jewish community and speak out loud and clear about what we all perceived to be elements of anti-semitism in some sections of the media, churches (including Christian charities) and universities - much of it clothed in anti-Zionist rhetoric.
It was felt that given my background of teaching Biblical Hebrew and Jewish history, people might actually listen, especially as much of this teaching had been done with students, adult and younger, from the various Christian communities in the UK.
So on returning to the UK, I tried my best - speaking to clergy, the BBC and others. The universities I felt to be beyond the pale and far too difficult for individuals to tackle. And now, thank goodness, Engage
and others are doing a very professional job from the inside in exposing double standards and sheer malice. And the government has now also gone public on the real problem for Jews at British universities and told the Vice Chancellors to do something about it.
But I do think that strides are slowly been made vis-a-vis the Churches and the BBC.
Let's start with the Churches, and specifically the Church of England, which is the Church of this country (whether it eventually disestablishes or not).
What I have found both in the Uk and in Israel is very little understanding of what the Church of England is actually about. No, it is not a watered-down version of the Catholic Church, as so many Israelis one meets seem to think. And no, it is interested in more than just the gay and female issues, important though these are.
The Church of England is now stronger in Africa, South America and Asia than in many parts of the United Kingdom and is based on what might be called a federal system. To an outsider like me, it appears to be like the rest of England, trying to be fair, working by give and take and aiming to assist the poor, the weak and the disadvantaged.
The problem however seems to be in definitions: who exactly are the poor and the weak nowadays? I certainly think that you can't always go by appearances and there is no doubt that my own community, the Jewish community has felt bewildered and concerned by the constant attacks on themselves, their schools, synagogues and cemeteries, which have only increased year by year in the last five or six years.
Hence the huge aliyah to Israel last year
which the Minister of Immigrant Absorption specifically asked me about when he came to visit me in Haifa last year (so amazed was he that anyone from the West would actually move to the war zone).
However, in chats with a number of Anglicans over the last few days, both in Manchester and London, I gain the distinct impression that these perceptions are now being recognized and a concerted effort being made to take the dialogue further and to involve academics and others in Israel as well.
And that would be a very good thing, because Jewish-Christian dialogue in Israel seems to be streets ahead of what passes for dialogue here. And perhaps true dialogue for Jews and Christians can only be really possible if Jews cease feeling fear and resentment and start to act as the elder brother (and sister) that they undoubtedly are, even with a Church that at one time had Riah as her Bishop of Jerusalem - the Bishop who makes out that there are no links whatsoever between his Church, the Hebrew Bible or the Jewish people.
As for the BBC, the very good news is that Phil Pegum, who has made a number of excellent programmes of a religious and/or ethical nature, has now been chosen to produce Radio 4's flagship: The Moral Maze
And Phil was certainly very helpful when producing the subsequently much-acclaimed 2005 Radio 4 series 'Faith to Faith' in which I featured with a Buddhist. Mind you there were a few blips along the way, which I can laugh at now, but at the time seemed far from funny.
So coming back to England and having been here for about 10 days now, I think I can perceive a general change in atmosphere in many different areas. And if the Church of England and the BBC continue to take a lead in sensitivity, maybe the real concern about the way this part of Europe at least is going might be gently assuaged.
And of course the wonderful weather of the past few days has helped, with Regents Park
the Houses of Parliament
and the general buzz of London in spring-time, creating a splendid feeling of well-being and greatness, whilst the kindness of people in Manchester never fails to astonish.
Yes, I really do think that England can be a wonderful country again. But it has to avoid the evil of appeasement and to tackle the bullies, of which there are still many. And this is why those of us who have been critical and proactive should be heeded. Because most of us are, most of the time, speaking from knowledge of our subjects and not out of hatred or antagonism. We have been speaking out reluctantly, because we felt we had to. Because being quiet just hasn't helped and our more tactful efforts have just been ignored.
And I feel that the progress I have described above should be nurtured and built on for the greater good.
I wonder what others think about this.