The Diary

Stressed? Eat a tomato

By Simon Round, May 7, 2009

The results of new research announced at a conference in Israel indicates that Israeli tomatoes can considerably reduce blood pressure — and may therefore be the perfect antidote to life in the country itself.

Tomato capsules, which are made from modified, Israeli-grown tomatoes, reduced the blood pressure of volunteers.

Better red than dead then.

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BMI: We can’t find Israel

By Simon Round, May 7, 2009

Passengers on BMI flights to Tel Aviv were in uproar after Israel was wiped off the inflight map — which instead showed the plane heading for Mecca.

The airline denied that it had an anti-Israel agenda. BMI said that the plane had recently been bought from a bankrupt Muslim charter airline and the map had been adapted to show places holy to Islam. A statement announced: “If BMI has any political agenda not to anger neighbouring countries it would not have invested so much in the Tel Aviv line.”

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Syria’s partying

By Simon Round, April 29, 2009

JC columnist Geoffrey Alderman was very surprised to find himself invited by the Syrian Ambassador, Sami Khiyami, to the annual celebration of Syria’s “National Day” at the country’s embassy in London.

Said Alderman: “I have not a clue why I was invited but I accepted. The only person I recognised at the reception was Jeremy Bowen.”

As the only guest sporting a kippah, Alderman admitted that he did receive one or two perplexed glances but said that the behaviour of his hosts was “punctilious”.

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Israel has a pig broblem

By Simon Round, April 29, 2009

The outbreak of swine flu is causing consternation in Israel where even the name is controversial.

Because pork is not kosher, Israel’s deputy health minister Yakov Litzman of the United Torah Judaism party has said the virus should be called “Mexican flu”.

No one seems to be listening. Everyone is too worried about catching the virus.

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It’s no joke for Danny

By Simon Round, April 29, 2009

It is not just at Durban II that Iranians and Jews have clashed recently.

At a recent internal BBC conference, Iranian-born comedian Omid Djalili launched into a tirade against BBC3 controller Danny Cohen over the use of what he perceived as offensive material on the channel. Then Cohen retorted that he had been offended by a joke that Djalili had told about the Jewish Secret Service (What is it called? Answer: MI6, MI5, MI4, MI3...MI final offer?)

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Freud back on list

By Simon Round, April 22, 2009

Of all the newspaper reports following the death of Sir Clement Freud last week, the one which he would be least happy about was the story that appeared on the JC’s website.

Back in 1974, when Freud was a Liberal MP, he demanded that he be removed from a list of Jewish parliamentarians compiled by the JC — despite the fact that he came from a Jewish family which fled the Nazis and that his grandfather was the Jewish psychoanalyst, Sigmund Freud.

If we ever make a list of deceased Jewish Members of Parliament, rest assured that Freud will be on it.

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No eggs and it’s no yoke

By Simon Round, April 22, 2009

Following Easter, shoppers may well be sick of the sight of eggs, but in Israel, they just cannot get enough of them.

Such has been the run on eggs over Pesach that major supermarkets have run out as exhausted Israeli chickens fail to keep up with demand.

Chicken farmers are said to be working overtime to, er, crack the problem.

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Abramovich loves shack

By Simon Round, April 22, 2009

We don’t know how reliable the Russian Izrus news agency is, but if its report is accurate, Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich must be feeling the credit crunch.

According to the agency’s account, the Russian oligarch arrived in Israel for Passover by private helicopter. But during his stay in the country, he rented a small shack in the Negev desert for which he paid the owner in advance.

For five days, according to Izrus, he was left alone eat dry lepeshki (a kind of bread) and drink only water.

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Crunch for Sir Alan

By Simon Round, April 14, 2009

Sir Alan Sugar was unable to watch himself fire the latest blundering contestant, Majid Nagra, in last week’s episode of The Apprentice... because he was busy hunting for matzah, according to his spokesman.

The multi-millionaire Amstrad boss missed the show because he was in America celebrating Pesach with his family.

His spokesman, Andrew Bloch, told The Sun: “There was a three-hour break in communication with Sir Alan so perhaps he was busy looking for the Afikoman?”

Isn’t that normally a job for the apprentices rather than the boss?

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Lasers for bug battle

By Simon Round, April 14, 2009

It’s kashrut inspectors meets Star Wars in the Israeli town of Tiberias, where shomers are to be armed with laser guns in order to fight the good fight — not against Darth Vader but against bugs in salad.

The guns zap the insects with a lethal beam. Every inspector will be required to be armed during de-bugging missions.

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