The Diary

Diva returns to Eurovision

February 26, 2015

How could the BBC leave Israel out of its European Song Contest Greatest Hits concert in London next month? Of course, it couldn't. Dana International, the most famous transgender Jew in history, will be reprising her 1998 winning entry, Diva, in celebration of the contest's 60th anniversary.

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Esther's happy to say oy vey

February 26, 2015

Employment Minister Esther McVey was back among friends at the Wizo UK dinner on Monday, sitting in between talent agent Jonathan Shalit and Conservative Friends of Israel director Stuart Polak.

It was Mr Shalit who had suggested she ought to pursue a political career when they met on the set of GMTV in the 1990s.

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Shakespeare for the shtetl

February 26, 2015

Wolf Hall star Mark Rylance revealed that he has sometimes cut antisemitic lines from Shakespeare but maybe there are other ways to bowdlerise the Bard. What should the witches in Macbeth cast into their cauldron instead of "liver of blaspheming Jew"? "Liver chopped and Sabbath stew"?

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Why Dawkins thought twice

February 26, 2015

In a Newsnight interview the other day, scientist Richard Dawkins was challenged about a tweet he wrote in 2013 that the entire Muslim population had won fewer Nobel prizes than Trinity College, Cambridge.

When asked by presenter Evan Davis why he had made such an invidious comparison, the scientist revealed he had not originally intended to mention the college.

While dining a few months ear

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Into the shtetl of Mayfair

February 19, 2015

The BBC aired its new documentary series Modern Times - Welcome to Mayfair on Sunday, exploring the weird and wonderful world of London's exclusive area.

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The domino effect of history

February 19, 2015

Setting up a line of dominos requires some patience. Spare a thought, then, for London-based artist Julian Hanford, who is planning to create an art installation of six million domino tiles.

The Fall will be set up by domino master Robin Weijers and aims to convey the scale of destruction that occurred during the Holocaust.

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Boxing their way to glory

February 19, 2015

Parents may have spotted a couple of familiar faces on Sunday when Hollie and Darren Sassienie appeared on Dragons Den.

The Radlett couple braved the panel of investors to pitch Sassy Bloom, a gift box service for new mums.

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Insta-kids with instant cash

February 19, 2015

It is safe to say your average 13-year-old is suitably indulged when his barmitzvah presents begin to arrive.

But such spoils pale in comparison to the lavish goods posted online on Rich Kids of Instagram.

The website shows photos of pampered teens blowing wads of cash on Ferraris, private jets and Michelin-starred dining.

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Not read the JC? What rubbish!

February 19, 2015

Tuesday's episode of Inside the Commons gave some impressive insight into Parliament, but also raised some serious questions. Most importantly, what was the JC's Rosh Hashanah magazine doing in Douglas Carswell's bin?

Fear not - the Ukip MP for Clacton later tweeted our editor, assuring him he had read it first.

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That really takes the biscuit

February 5, 2015

My colleague Marcus Dysch keeps getting texted by the assistant of a shadow cabinet minister unaware he has the wrong number. The minion's latest message this week announced his master was hungry and wanted some biscuits.

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