In Tel Aviv a tent city runs the length of Rothschild Boulevard. In Jerusalem they are preparing for a Million Person March. But in the Jerusalem suburb of Mevasseret Zion all is calm, especially in the house of Aharon and Yudit Appelfeld. I am here to talk about Appelfeld's new novel, and to consider his illustrious career as he approaches his 80th birthday.
Lynne franks: You grew up in Manchester in what was quite a Jewish home, didn't you?
Arlene Phillips: We actually were a religious family. We were a huge extended family because my mother was one of 11 children. Her parents were immigrants - Polish, Russian. We were all very close and I had lots of cousins who were even more observant than we were.
● Baroness Julia Neuberger, senior rabbi of West London Synagogue and a cross-bench member of the House of Lords
● Playwright Amy Rosenthal
● Ian Livingston, chief executive of the BT Group (formerly British Telecom)
● Julia Hobsbawm, media businesswoman, writer, mother and stepmother
The last time a Chief Rabbi was appointed, Stanley Kalms was the kingmaker. Now, more than 20 years later, Lord Kalms of Edgware says he would not want the job again. Not that it is on offer, or that anyone is likely to fill the role he had in selecting the then Dr Jonathan Sacks for the position. Kalms now regards it as a worthless search for a pretty unimportant post.
Lying on his back, arms above his head, tumbled golden curls against his pillow, tiny Chanochi Pearl looks a gorgeous, healthy toddler. Until, that is, you notice the oxygen tubes in his nostrils, filling his damaged lungs, and the bottle of liquid by his cot plumbed to a plug in his tummy, pumping his body with essential nutrients.
The Battle of Cable Street, 75 years ago this week, has taken a proud place in Jewish collective memory, regarded as a decisive victory against Oswald Mosley's British Union of Fascists. Yet looking past the popular mythology, and at contemporary records instead, we find a very different picture.
Many young women suffering from an incurable disease, leaving them debilitated and in excruciating pain, would allow their lives to be blighted with bitterness. But not Elaine Benton, who was diagnosed at five-years-old with Gaucher's disease, a genetic condition which disproportionately affects Ashkenazi Jews.
Lynne Franks: I am interested in what being a Jewish woman feels like for you in today's society and how your upbringing as a young Jewish woman has affected your view of the world. Both your parents were Israelis weren't they?
Noreena Hertz: Yes. They were both born in… Well, it wasn't even Israel then.
Israel's last ambassador to the UK, Ron Prosor, was very fond of singing. His successor, Daniel Taub, has an equally creative side, albeit even more unexpected for a diplomat - he has written a soap opera.