The Diary

Where on earth is Israel?

By Simon Round, August 29, 2008

Noticed anything strange about Google World?

A JC reader saw that there were a few crucial little details missing from the site which gives satellite maps of the world . Although almost the entire planet is covered by Google, there is one important exception - Israel.

Whereas other countries have all major cities highlighted, Israel has nothing but a dotted line to separate it from the Territories.

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We win gold for excuses

By Simon Round, August 21, 2008
Israeli athletes have been attempting to explain their Olympic failure. Our favourite is gymnast Alexandr Shatilov's excuse: "This is the first time I've fallen like that."

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Kosher wine crime rises

By Simon Round, August 21, 2008

What is the most shoplifted item at the North Finchley branch of Waitrose? Well, amazingly, it is Palwin.
This information was divulged by the branch's manager to a customer attempting to find a bottle of the syrupy kiddush wine.

However, it is not middle-aged housewives feeling the credit crunch who are responsible for the Shabbat-wine crime wave, but rather the area's alcoholics, or "the dregs of society", as the manager poetically put it.

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New statesman loses plot

By Simon Round, August 21, 2008

The New Statesman has invited readers to vote for their favourite ideas for in-depth investigations. The magazine has opened a comment thread on its website so that readers can suggest ideas.

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Obama has a dream…

By Simon Round, August 21, 2008

What does the future president of the USA dream about?

Well, thanks to a new booklet called Jewels of Elul, we now know. The booklet is the brainchild of spiritual folk-rocker Craig Taubman, who wanted to mark the month of Elul when Jews look within themselves in preparation for the High Holy Days. So Taubman asked prominent Americans to disclose their dreams.
Presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain both replied promptly. Dreamed Obama: "We must reclaim that basic American Dream for all Americans."

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Vegas cop fights for beard

By Simon Round, August 15, 2008

A Federal judge has ruled that an observant Jewish policeman in Las Vegas can keep his beard. Detective Steve Riback had been informed by the las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department that the facial hair had to go.

Thirty-two-year-old Riback wore a beard and baseball cap while working as an undercover vice-detective but the dispute started when he was transferred to the Office of Quality Assurance, where he is not required to wear a uniform.

Riback bristled with indignation when ordered to shave off his beard and took the Police Department to court.

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Classical Roman building

By Simon Round, August 15, 2008

Roman Abramovich's newest purchase may give him more trouble than even José Mourinho.

The Russian oligarch has won permission to create a £150 million property in Lowndes Square in Knightsbrige. However, Kensington and Chelsea Council has ordered Abramovich to use only classical materials in the construction of the eight bedroom "palace". There will also be noise controls.

Fortunately, Abramovich will have somewhere to lay his head while work is in progress. He owns a property in central London and also has dacha in Surrey.

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Iranian swimmer sunk

By Simon Round, August 15, 2008

An Iranian swimmer refused to compete in a heat against an Israeli at the Beijing Olympics - or perhaps he was just feeling off-colour?

Mohammad Alirezaei pulled out of the 100-metre breast stroke race, which was also due to be contested by Israel's Tom Beeri. However, it was all a coincidence , according to an Iranian press report, which claimed Alirezaei had not been feeling well.

A nasty case of Zionitis, perhaps.

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The Jewish cyber-soldiers

By Simon Round, August 15, 2008

First there was the Palmach and the Haganah, then the Israel Defence Force. Now, a new group has taken Jewish defence onto the web.

The Jewish Internet Defence Force , which claims to have 5,000 members, has mounted a campaign to wrest control of a viciously anti-Israel and antisemitic Facebook site, titled "Israel is not a Country".

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Oops, left daughter behind

By Simon Round, August 8, 2008

We all know what it's like when you go on holiday - there's so much to take with you - passport, toothbrush, suncream etc - that it's easy to end up forgetting something. So let's lay off the poor parents who left their four-year-old daughter behind at Ben-Gurion Airport when they boarded a flight from Tel Aviv to Paris. After all, the unnamed Orthodox couple were late for their plane and in a terrible rush. They were carrying a large amount of luggage too - all of which they made sure accompanied the on board.

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