The Diary

Reviewing the Israel situation

By Simon Round, February 18, 2009

Iranian born actor and comedian Omid Djalili, once did a comedy routine with Jewish stand-up Ivor Dembina, so his pro-Jewish credentials are not in question.

But, Djalili, who will be taking over as Fagin in Oliver! did say this: “I can say categorically that my appearance as the first ever Iranian to play Fagin is not part of any Iranian conspiracy to wipe Israel off the planet.” That’s a relief.

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My hero, Nasrallah

By Simon Round, February 18, 2009

Clients of law firm Watson Farley & William might be interested to read in the latest edition of The Lawyer magazine about the likes and dislikes of partner Michael Wachtel.

In the magazine’s “Work-Life” quiz, Wachtel says his hero is “Hizbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, not because of his politics or his ideology but because he refused to be intimidated by a much stronger foe and won.”

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Nazi may have died in Cairo

February 12, 2009

German authorities intend to travel to Egypt to investigate claims that the Nazi concentration camp doctor Aribert Heim died there in 1992. New information indicated that Austrian-born Heim may have lived in Cairo under an Arab name before his death from cancer.

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Bad sign for journalist

By Simon Round, February 12, 2009

Normally, the protocol for a journalist is that when one is attending an event featuring a major political figure, one does not ask for his autograph.

However, Robert Feuereisen, who works for the New York-based Jewish World Review website, simply could not contain himself when reporting a recent Barack Obama event in Washington, and jumped the ropes separating reporters from guests in order to ask for the president’s signature.

Binyamin Jolkovsky, the editor of the site, said that Feuereisen’s 12-year-old son had “driven him crazy” to get Obama’s signature.

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Praying can extend life

By Simon Round, February 12, 2009

Being religious can actually be a life saver.

Blossom and Israel Rubin wrote to the Jerusalem Post explaining how their soldier grandson had been davening in Gaza.

“As a group of soldiers bowed down at the call of barechu, a sniper’s bullet whizzed over one soldier. Had he not bent over … the bullet would almost certainly have ripped through his head.”

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Dinner? No thanks

By Simon Round, February 12, 2009

Reports reach the Diary that Chief Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks has invited Leader of the Opposition David Cameron to dine at his home on three occasions, and three times has been told that Cameron is unable to attend.

Of course, it may be that there is a genuine problem with dates — after all, Mr Cameron is an extremely busy man.

However, one Conservative insider tells us that the Tory Party leader is a little worried about the fact that Rabbi Sacks’s daughter, Gila Sacks, works in Gordon Brown’s office and that any conversation could get back to the Prime Minister? Surely not.

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Trees are not green

By Simon Round, February 5, 2009

You would think that Tu’bshvat (the new year for the trees), with its message of celebrating nature, would be regarded as the ultimate green festival.

However, green campaigners in Israel are urging people not to do the traditional thing by planting a tree.

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End for crusaders

By Simon Round, February 5, 2009

Cricket’s Middlesex Crusaders are to change their name to the Panthers following complaints about their name.

Vinny Codrington the club’s chief executive confirmed that there had been “one or two complaints” from Jews and Muslims.

He added “One of our former presidents was Jewish and he didn’t particularly like the name.”

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Blessing for votes scandal

By Simon Round, February 5, 2009

Over here we had the cash for votes scandal. In Israel, they are having their own version — the blessings for votes scandal.

The Shas party has had part of its advertising campaign banned by the Israeli watchdog because its spiritual leader, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, is seen to give blessings to voters.

Exchanging blessings for votes is banned in Israel in accordance with the elections law But Shas chairman Eli Yishai objected to the judgement calling the General Elections Committee, “a dictatorship of judges”.

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Let it be Yiddishe

By Simon Round, January 29, 2009

Sir Paul McCartney seems to have found himself another nice Jewish girl.

Rich New Yorker Nancy Shevell is, say insiders, set to become the former Beatle’s third wife, and the second one with a Jewish background.

Sir Paul enjoyed a blissfully happy marriage to Linda Eastman, like Sevell from an affluent Jewish family, but it all went wrong when he said hello and then goodbye to working class North Eastern lass Heather Mills.

Macca has obviously learned his lesson and does not plan to marry out again.

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