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Archive for November, 2012

This beautiful video, for the Rich Bueno song Centre of the Sun, was edited and produced by my good friend – and OyVaGoy reader – Josh Gershuny.

The multi-talented Josh is running next year’s London Marathon to raise funds for Magen David Adom UK. You can find out more about this charity, and Josh’s effort, here.

Happy weekend everyone. I have a column in the new issue of the Jewish Chronicle. I’ll post it here in a few days.

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…or is there something really hot about Tzipi Livni? She can form a coalition with me anytime…

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I could start with the things I love about the festive season. But it’s more fun, surely, to talk about the things I hate?

Top of the list are those appallingly manufactured experiences known as office Christmas parties. Now that I’m freelance, these are less of an chore. I more or less enjoy being invited to office parties of publishers and publications I work with. I get to put faces to names, nobody expects me to stay for long, and there are usually networking opportunities to make the coming year more profitable.

Back when I was a nine-to-five office worker, I used to dread Christmas parties.

I felt sick the moment the way-too-excited memo arrived in November. Usually arranged by some gruesomely needy HR minion, these bastardly bashes only seemed to be looked forward to by two categories of employee: friendless bores and resentful young fathers. For them, the chance to have a night out of the house with alcohol being consumed and other homo sapiens present was a novelty.

For the rest of us, it was punishment. I would pray I’d be struck with illness on the day of the get-together, and end-up concocting elaborate excuses to leave early. But whichever company I’ve worked for has always had that one bore, who theatrically bollocks anyone trying to escape: ‘Oh, you’re not splitting on us, are you?’ (Rough translation: ‘Christ, I wish I too had the guts to quit this pitiful charade.’)

Even worse is that trusty slice of anti-climax known as the New Years Eve party. I can’t stand the moment when crazy-eyed revellers start the midnight countdown: ’10! 9! 8! 7…’ It makes me want to run to the woods and writhe around on the ground in despair and embarrassment for the human race.

Enforced fun is no fun at all. Only those so unimaginative they are incapable of creating or even experiencing genuine, spontaneous fun can truly enjoy these phantasms of the festive season.

Bah humbug, I know.

In happier news, I do enjoy the special ‘red cup’ lattes that the big coffee chains rock out at this time of year. My favourite two are the Costa praline and cream latte, and the Starbucks toffee nut latte. I recently checked how many points I’ve amassed on my Costa card in 2012 and was pleasantly surprised by what I found. Bottom line: if the Mayan prophecies are true, I’ll never have to pay for coffee again.

Happy holidays!

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In 2005, Israel unilaterally disengaged from Gaza, removing its settlements and soldiers from the territory.

Since then, Hamas has taken control of the Strip, prompting regular fighting between Gaza terrorists and the Israeli army in which thousands of Israelis and Gaza Palestinians have been either killed or maimed. In 2006, Hamas kidnapped Gilad Shalit and the poor guy spent five years in captivity in Gaza.

The Israelis who were evacuated from Gaza in 2005 were treated shoddily by successive Israeli governments, with a 2010 Israeli report slamming the “absolute and complete failure” of successive administrations to look after them, instead turning them into “refugees in their own country”.

Meanwhile, Israel’s image has not benefited at all from the disengagement. Global hostility towards the Jewish state is far higher now than it was seven years ago.

Do you think the disengagement from Gaza was a mistake? If not, why not?

Last year I wrote about my admiration of the NaNach Hasidim. That post included a video of the NaNachs boosting the spirits of the IDF during the 2006 war with Hezbollah.

Although it appeared in a sad story, I smiled today when I saw this photo of an Israeli soldier wearing a NaNach beanie.

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Earlier today, a six year old Palestinian boy called Salah travelled with his mother from Gaza to an Israeli hospital near Tel Aviv. Meanwhile, terrorists in Gaza fired a rocket towards the city. The Iron Dome defence system intercepted the rocket, but a vehicle outside the hospital was damaged by shrapnel.

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Please share any observations, opinions or updates about the situation in Israel.

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For a while I’ve had a theory that opponents of Israel will get behind anything anti-Israel, without giving the accuracy of it a moment’s thought. So, on Sunday evening after I wrote this post about rocket attacks on Israel, I thought I’d put my theory to the test.

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I am reading a book called The Boy, in which Israeli historian Dan Porat unravels the story around perhaps the most powerful image of the Holocaust. It is the image of a Jewish boy, with his hands up, outside the Warsaw Ghetto.

This morning, Gaza terrorists again scheduled their rocket fire to coincide with the time that children, just like the one in that photograph, are taken to school. It is only a combination of Israel’s civil defence infastructure, cancelled school days, and sheer luck that prevent these terrorists from successfully killing and maiming on the scale they dream of.

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My biography of Adele was also published in America yesterday.

It’s already been a bestseller in several countries, so here’s hoping for more of the same in the States. I’m pleased to say the mighty USA Today has run a feature on it, and there is a video report about it on Entertainment Wise.

© Copyright Chas Newkey-Burden. All Rights Reserved. Thanks to Chris Morris.