News Israel's president Shimon Peres prepares to lay a wreath on the coffin of former prime minister Ariel Sharon

There will be a state memorial service for the former prime minister tomorrow before he is buried in a private ceremony at his ranch

In Jerusalem, even street naming can be divisive

In East Jerusalem, addresses in many Palestinian neighborhoods are nonexistent. Without street names and house numbers, people identify where they live by adjacent landmarks: "opposite the mosque," or "next to the corner bakery."

Ultra-Orthodox students are angry at Eud Barak's plans to end their exemption from military service

Ultra-Orthodox up in arms as Israel prepares to end army exemption

The Israeli Defence Minister, Ehud Barak, has announced plans to draft thousands of Ultra-Orthodox students into the army – a move that could set him at loggerheads with the religious parties in the run-up to a general election in January.

Netanyahu chooses date of next Israeli general election

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has chosen January 22 as the date of the next general election, but it could be some time before he discovers the identity of his main challenger.

Netanyahu calls snap general election

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last night called a snap general election, hoping to cash in on his overwhelming popularity and forestall divisive wrangling over spending cuts.

The Crusader States, By Malcolm Barber. Yale, £25

Between 1099 and 1192, an assortment of Western European Christians known as Franks or Crusaders managed to recapture, rule and eventually lose Jerusalem, Antioch, Edessa, Tripoli and the lands surrounding them in Syria, Palestine and the Levant. Known as Outremer, these were Latin and Catholic polities in lands then dominated by Greek Orthodox, or Shia and Sunni Muslim. Malcolm Barber's detailed, fair-minded and scholarly history of this collection of western states in an eastern setting sheds much light on both the period, and its repercussions, which are still with us today.

The Liars' Gospel, By Naomi Alderman

This gripping and visceral novel depicts the life of Christ from a Jewish perspective.

DJ Taylor: Britain is ready for a highbrow PM

Bright politicians should learn that authenticity pays; dirty wars in leafy suburbia; and books that shape generations

Album: Bill Fay, Life Is People (Dead Oceans)

Success in songwriting is as much a lottery as a measure of true quality.

The Blagger's Guide To: Oldies

Will you still need me? Will you still feed me?

Former Israeli PM Ehud Olmert cleared of two charges but found guilty of one in corruption case

Former Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert has been cleared of the major charges in a corruption trial which forced him from power.

Kathy Burke: 'I'm sick of dramas about crime and murder which always make young actresses take their clothes off'

Kathy comes home

Kathy Burke has written a sitcom about her childhood, but most shows about young women make her puke, she tells James Rampton

Jez Butterworth’s latest play, The River, is billed as bewitching tale involving a remote cabin, a man and woman and a moonless night

How to build a new Jerusalem in an 85-seat theatre

Jez Butterworth's hit play caused a transatlantic stampede – and it won't be easy to catch his new work either

Israel begins rounding up African migrants

Israeli authorities say they have detained dozens of migrants from South Sudan who have entered the country illegally.

Amore

Observations: Popera act Amore are graduating to the big time

Charlotte Church and Katherine Jenkins have done wonders in changing classical music's reputation as stuffy. But will British operatic group Amore succeed in putting the fun back in opera and be the next big opera band?

Lord Rothschild backs occupy activists

Lord Jacob Rothschild, the British investment banker, arts patron and philanthropist, has expressed "sympathy" for the Occupy movement's protests against banks.

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File: David Cameron offers a toast during a State Dinner in his honour March 14, 2012
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Stella Gibson is getting closer to catching her killer
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Brendan Rodgers seems more stressed than ever before as Liverpool manager
FOOTBALLI like Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
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Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game