Sea mystery as passenger claims ‘we beat pirates’

By James Martin, May 27, 2009

A London woman who was on a cruise ship attacked by Somali pirates said this week that “the heroic efforts of passengers in fending them off has been overlooked”.

Frances Pallas was a week into a three-week cruise, which ran from Durban, South Africa, to Genoa, Italy, when the MSC Melody was attacked by pirates last month.

Mrs Pallas disputes the claim of the ship’s owners, MSC Cruises, that pirates were thwarted by Israeli security guards, who “acted immediately and successfully” in response to an attempted hijack.


Asylum-seeker saved from deportation by shul activists

By Simon Rocker, February 19, 2009

Swift action by synagogue members brought a last-minute halt to the deportation of a 62-year-old grandmother to the Democratic Republic of Congo last week.

Marie-Jeanne Elumba Ngolo, from Kinshasa, who has been in the UK for nine years, was a regular visitor to the New North London Synagogue’s drop-in centre for asylum-seekers.

But when she was suddenly arrested and told she was being sent back to her homeland, supporters of the centre lobbied the authorities and secured a temporary reprieve.


Visionary project

February 12, 2009

An organisation promoting Jewish responsibility has set its sights on improving vision in Africa.

Project Chesed, a joint initiative of the United Synagogue and the London School of Jewish Studies, has joined forces with the Eye Warehouse to collect thousands of pairs of spectacles which will be sent by Vision Aid Overseas to optical clinics in countries such as Ethiopia, Malawi and Zambia. The Project Chesed collection is dedicated to the memory of Giles Van Colle, an optician and US member, who was murdered in 2000.


South African apology over slur

February 5, 2009

South Africa’s deputy foreign minister apologised for alleging that “Jewish money” controlled the United States. Fatima Hajaig told a rally last month that “control of America, just like the control of most western countries, is in the hands of Jewish money”.


Rwandan orphans get a little piece of Israel

By Anshel Pfeffer, December 11, 2008

A group of orphans from the 1994 Rwandan genocide are to begin new lives at a special youth village run by Israeli-trained staff and financed by Jewish-American donations through the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee.

The Agahozo (“dry their tears”) Shalom village will not open officially until next June, but the first group of 125 children are to move in next week.


Amanda Mann keeps silent

July 10, 2008
Amanda Mann, the Jewish wife of Simon Mann, would not comment this week after her husband was sentenced to 34 years in prison for leading an abortive coup intended to overthrow the president of Equatorial Guinea.


Plea to let refugees remain

July 10, 2008

A coalition of Jewish groups has lobbied the Home Office over the deportation of Darfuri refugees to Khartoum, despite evidence that increasing numbers are being arrested and tortured.


African rabbi in Britain tells of crisis faced by Zimbabwe Jews

By Shelly Paz, June 19, 2008

A South African rabbi came to London this week to “create awareness in the local Jewish community” of the difficulties faced by Zimbabwe’s tiny Jewish community, and to seek help for the regular support his organisation is having to offer its members.

Rabbi Moshe Silberhaft is rabbi to the African Jewish Congress, which represents 13 African countries including Zimbabwe. He is also the president of the AJC’s Zimbabwe Fund, responsible for all aid and assistance to the 320 Jews in Zimbabwe.


Secret airlift for Zimbabawe

By Shelly Paz, June 12, 2008

An emergency mission to airlift the few remaining Zimbabwean Jews to Israel has been launched by the Jewish Agency.

Staff have spoken individually to every member of the 350-strong community and are believed to be making arrangements for their removal at short notice.

Details are a closely guarded secret. There is no Israeli embassy in Harare and there are no direct flights to Tel Aviv, but the countries do have diplomatic ties.


Portman visits Rwanda to open youth village

By Anshel Pfeffer, June 5, 2008

Hollywood star Natalie Portman visited Rwanda this week to highlight the opening of a youth village for orphans of the genocide, sponsored by Jewish donors and staffed by Israelis.