The Diary

Shek for the knesset?

By Simon Rocker, November 24, 2011

Could former Bicom head and Israel's ex-ambassador to France, Danny Shek, be shortly to swap the diplomatic bag for the ballot box?

Friends say that he has intimated of late that he would not be averse to seeking a Knesset seat with Kadima.

When we caught up with him, he said he was a party member and on leave of absence from the Foreign Ministry, but he would not confirm any electoral ambit

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Unaware of the protocols

By Simon Rocker, November 24, 2011

A copy of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion was on sale at the weekend at, of all places, a bookstall run on behalf of the Morning Star at a Labour conference.

Ivan Beavis, who ran the stall, said that the communist newspaper receives hundreds of items donated by well-wishers to raise money for it.

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If you want to be chief

By Simon Rocker, November 24, 2011

Watch out soon for an advertisement inviting applications for the next Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations.

I don't know if the post – with a salary comparable to the Prime Minister's £140,000 - has ever formally been advertised before.

But the Chief Rabbi selectors have been advised to take the precaution because of immigration rules.

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Abbey tribute for Sir Simon

By Simon Rocker, November 17, 2011

It is not often that you will hear Kaddish said at Westminster Abbey.

But the memorial prayer was recently recited at a service of thanksgiving for the deputy mayor of London, Sir Simon Milton, by his civil partner Robert Davis.

Also taking part in the commemoration for Sir Simon, who died in April aged 49, were Rabbis Steven Katz and Baroness Neuberger.

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Time-travelling Aldermans

By Simon Rocker, November 17, 2011

Naomi Alderman launched her writing career with largely well-received novels about a rabbi's lesbian daughter and bright young things at Oxford.

But her most recent work has taken her down a different fictional path: Borrowed Time is a BBC-commissioned story about Dr Who.

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It's OK for Norwood

By Simon Rocker, November 17, 2011

It's not enough to feed your guests, you must give them something to read, too. Diners at Norwood's fundraiser left with copies of OK magazine, which is published by the charity's president Richard Desmond - slighter literary fare, though, than that the New Israel Fund offering to its supporters: copies of the novels of guest speaker A.B. Yehoshua.

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Celebrity departure

By Simon Rocker, November 17, 2011

Rabbi David Goldberg's impresario days are over. The last event he is organising for the Liberal Jewish Synagogue takes place on Sunday, an Any Question panel including Sir Nicholas Hytner and Libby Purves, which is part of its centenary celebrations. "Time to leave it to the younger generation," says the 71-year-old emeritus minister.

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England at Auschwitz

By Simon Rocker, November 10, 2011

The English soccer team will be flying the flag for anti-racism when they travel to Poland next year for the European Championship.

It was announced this week that Fabio Capello's men will be visiting Auschwitz - following the example of the English team managed by Sven-Göran Eriksson and captained by David Beckham, which went to the camp ahead of a World Cup qualifier against Poland in 2004.

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Beyond the Bibi-bashing

By Simon Rocker, November 10, 2011

Bibi Netanyahu may well have the last laugh after the eavesdropped conversation in which French President Nicolas Sarkozy described him as a liar and American President Barack Obama quipped: "You may be sick of him but… I have to deal with him every day."

Some Republicans are now demanding Obama offer the Israeli MP some diplomatic recompense for the distinctly undiplomatic revelations.

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Lights go out in downing st

By Simon Rocker, November 10, 2011

The Prime Minister's Chanucah party has become an annual fixture in the Anglo-Jewish calendar and the great and good eagerly await their invitations.

But Chanucah's late arrival this year - it doesn't begin until the evening of December 20 - has posed a problem.

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