Simon Round

IDF is watching Big brother

By Simon Round, October 2, 2008

Big Brother has finally hit Israel, along with all the normal controversy which comes with the programme.
However, there is one group which is particularly uneasy about the content of the programme - Israel's military censors. They have already warned the producers that the participants have to stop talking about their military service, for fear that secrets may inadvertently be revealed on live TV.

Production company Keshet attracted complaints from viewers concerned about loose talk which the IDF decided could cost lives.

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Nippers back Barack

By Simon Round, October 2, 2008

If Barack Obama sweeps to victory in the US presidential elections next month, it may be partly due to his secret weapon - Jewish grandchildren.

One of the more weirdly named support groups for the Democrat nominee for the top job is "Jewish Grandchildren for Obama", which was set up, according to its blurb, to "help educate older generations of Jewish voters about why Obama is the best choice - domestically and internationally".

But why stop there? We could have Jewish nieces for McCain and perhaps even Jewish kilt-wearers for Brown.

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Yep, he achieved world peace

By Simon Round, September 26, 2008

Storyville: Day After Peace
BBC4, Saturday September 20

Ten years ago, documentary film maker Jeremy Gilley had what he thought was a fantastic idea. How about a World Peace Day; 24 hourswhen hostilities would cease around the globe?

He was prepared to give his all to achieve what he knew was an ambitious plan. He fully realised that the guns were unlikely to go quiet for 24 hours everywhere but reckoned that if this campaign could save a single life, it would have been worthwhile.

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Tim Walker and ‘ethics’ at the Telegraph

By Simon Round, September 26, 2008

Here is a question for Telegraph editor Will Lewis. What does it say about your diarist Tim Walker's professional standards that, once again, we find his column printing original JC material unattributed, as if it were his own? The latest example has Walker quoting Lord Levy as saying that David Miliband "doesn't have the gravitas or the stature to be a great leader of the Labour Party. But talk to me in 10 years' time...", and so on.

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Are Japanese really Japs?

By Simon Round, September 26, 2008

Could the Japanese actually be Jewish? The Oniazuma website carries an article which claims that they may just be one of the lost tribes of Israel.

For instance, one of Japan's largest festivals, the Gion festival, is believed by many to be the same as ancient Israel's Zion festival. And the Japanese Shintoist holy day is Yamoboko Junko, or "going atop the mountain to rest the shrine" - a link to Noah's Ark, perhaps.

It may all be nonsense... but it might explain why so many of us love sushi so much.

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JC review provokes Irish ire

By Simon Round, September 26, 2008

Irish paper the Sunday Business Post carried a full-length story about how the JC "attacked" The Boy in Striped Pyjamas (above), the film of the Holocaust book by Irish author John Boyne.

JC film critic Gerald Aaron, who reviewed the movie, was unaware that his cultural opinion would start an international crisis. Better postpone that weekend in Dublin, Mr Aaron.

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Parking in the future

By Simon Round, September 26, 2008

Steven Spielberg directed Minority Report, which predicted a world in which people were arrested for crimes they had not yet committed.

It seems it is no longer science fiction. JC reader Martin Stern has been given a ticket for a parking offence that will happen on "October 3 2008" in Tel Aviv. Don't do it, Martin.

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Why we can all still be happy this New Year

By Simon Round, September 26, 2008

I've always had this problem with Rosh Hashanah. From what I can gather, everyone else celebrates New Year with a big party. Ours seems to be the only culture where everyone stays sober and gets all reflective. Honey and apple and shofar blowing are all very well but a few fireworks wouldn't go amiss either.

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Israel sells snow to Swiss

By Simon Round, September 19, 2008

A few years ago there was a legendary story about the British company which was selling sand to the Arabs. Now, here is one to top it: Israelis are selling snow to the Swiss.

An Israeli company has flogged the IDE Snowmaker to Switzerland. It will be deployed in the Swiss town of Zermatt from next month. Israeli snow comes at a higher cost than the natural stuff - the machine costs over £1 million.

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David Irving: The movie

By Simon Round, September 19, 2008

We hear that the book written by academic Deborah Lipstadt, History on Trial: My Day in Court with David Irving, about her legal battle with the Holocaust denying historian, has now been optioned by a film company.

Which prompts the question: who will play Irving in the movie? We reckon that Sir Anthony Hopkins and Jack Nicholson could be among the front-runners. Or how about John Cleese in the lead role?

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Jewish news copies its copy

By Simon Round, September 19, 2008

In last week's Jewish News, the "Dear Rabbi" column answered the query of a lady who was told by a clairvoyant that she was going to make a fortune.

The rabbi replied: "Wow. You were told by a top clairvoyant!... definitely not a load of rip-off mumbo-jumbo cooked up by some fruit-loop con-artist..."

Coincidentally, AOL's agony uncle answered a similar query on August 29.

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Footballer outed as pianist

By Simon Round, September 19, 2008

A lot of Premiership footballers have problems adjusting at the end of their careers. Some go into coaching, some become pundits, others buy a pub.

However, Israeli player Elisha Abas has made a more unusual career choice. After a long career in the Israeli top league, he has become a concert pianist.

Abas was actually a child prodigy at piano until the age of 15, when he became a victim of burnout. Three years later, he made his debut in his new career as a footballer.

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My school-dinner memories, coming back up

By Simon Round, September 19, 2008

If there is a phrase guaranteed to make me cringe more than just about any other, it's "school dinners" - well, that and "Premiership champions Manchester United".

School dinners were what I hated most about school. When Jamie Oliver started his campaign to rid our educational institutions of unhealthy muck I was right behind him, but when I looked at the menus that he was attempting to change I did have a little twinge.

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I’m Jewish? I’ll be a rabbi, then

By Simon Round, September 19, 2008

The Choice

Radio 4, Tuesday, September 16

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Celebrity lawyer tells of her pain as ‘poison’ allegation is dropped

By Simon Round, September 12, 2008

Leading media divorce lawyer Vanessa Lloyd Platt has spoken of her shock at being arrested on suspicion of perverting the course of justice and her relief after being told she will not be charged with any offence.

Ms Lloyd Platt - who appears regularly on GMTV and Channel 4 and has acted for celebrities including Les Dennis and Anne Diamond - said she had been arrested by the police "under circumstances that were a complete mystery."

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Interview: Annabel Karmel

By Simon Round, September 12, 2008

Her recipes and supermarket food have earned her global fame, but negative media coverage still hurts


Annabel Karmel may be the country's best-known and top-selling author on children and family food but when people attack her work, it hurts. Although she is a fixture on the best-seller lists, she has been sneered at by interviewers from more than one newspaper.

Sitting over a dish of sea bream in an Italian restaurant in London, she says she cannot understand the criticisms.

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13-year-old pooch gets a bark mitzvah

By Simon Round, September 12, 2008
What do you do for the dog who has everything? Well, if he is 13 years old you give him a bark mitzvah. New Yorker David Best spent $10,000 on his a bash for his pooch, Elvis. He must be barking.

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Israel’s Ikea in the frame

By Simon Round, September 12, 2008

Furniture in Israeli branches of Ikea cost more than the ubiquitous flatpacks in any country in Europe, according to a new survey. Prices at the store's Israeli outlets are about 30 per cent higher than in Britain and the Netherlands and 24 per cent higher than in France and Sweden.

And then you have to build it yourself.

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Rabbi's courting controversy

By Simon Round, September 12, 2008

One of Israel's leading rabbis has, er, somewhat unexpected views on dating.

Rabbi Shlomo Aviner, one of the spiritual leaders of the religious Zionism movement, held forth on the subject following Israeli discussion show Srugim. One of the show's guests argued that multi-dating was allowed under Jewish law.

Aviner said that multi-dating was forbidden... unless the woman was old and the man took too much time making a decision.

We wonder how long is too long - and how old is old?

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Who is Muhammad Cohen?

By Simon Round, September 12, 2008

Here is a contender for the world's craziest name. It's Muhammad Cohen.

You may not be surprised to hear that film director Cohen was born Eliot. However, he changed his name following his marriage to an Indonesian Muslim woman in 2002. It was, he said to demonstrate the similarity of the Muslim and Jewish religions.

Cohen said he was welcomed by the Muslim community. When he decided to marry, the only worry of the officiating Imam was that he be circumcised. Cohen was able to re-assure him on that count.

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