UK news

Full text of anti-Israel activist acquittal revealed

By Marcus Dysch and Jessica Elgot, July 22, 2010

The full transcript has been revealed for the first time of a judge's summing-up in the trial of seven anti-Israel activists acquitted of damaging an arms factory in January 2009.

Judge George Bathurst-Norman had told the jury at Lewes Crown Court that the group's leader should be awarded the George Cross for his campaign.

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Jewish scholar's library under threat

By Jessica Elgot, July 22, 2010

The Jewish-founded research library, the Warburg Institute, says it is under threat from the University of London - which signed a trust deed in 1944 agreeing to protect the institute.

The Warburg contains more than 350,000 books, including extremely rare volumes and a photography collection.

It now fears it may lose its independence after the university raised its rent by £500,000 - more than quadruple the fee in 2007. Staff believe that the university wishes to absorb the collection into its own main library.

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Jewish WW1 soldiers reburied

By Marcus Dysch, July 22, 2010

Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall were joined in France this week by 12 veterans from the Association of Jewish Ex-Servicemen and Women, as the Prince dedicated the first new Commonwealth War Graves cemetery for 50 years.

Two thousand people gathered at Fromelles, near Lille, for the reburial of 250 British and Australian soldiers on the 94th anniversary of the battle in which they were killed.

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Jewish charities warn of cuts as donations fall

By Jessica Elgot, July 22, 2010

Jewish charities have been hit by a huge drop in donations this year and may have to make further cuts as local authorities, which use their services, tighten their belts.

Norwood, whose services for children and families in need are mostly purchased by local authorities, has been warned by councils that it must significantly reduce its fees or the councils will not continue to buy its services.

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Pledge to fight EU shechita ban

By Robyn Rosen, July 22, 2010

The president of Shechita UK has urged the community to lobby MPs to prevent new EU regulations requiring kosher meat to be labelled "meat from slaughter without stunning".

Last month the European Parliament voted in favour of the amendment to the provision of food information to consumers, just two weeks after New Zealand banned kosher slaughter.

Henry Grunwald QC urged the Board of Deputies on Sunday to contact their MPs before the bill comes back for discussion in September.

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Man, 80, confirmed as Jewish

By Jessica Elgot, July 22, 2010

An 80-year-old man who had his Jewish status challenged by the Beth Din, has received a letter confirming he is definitely Jewish.

Joseph Marks from Shepperton, Middlesex, had his Jewish status questioned by Dayan Menachem Gelley at the London Beth Din after he applied to join Connect - an marriage agency which is part of the Jewish Marriage Council - after his wife died.

Mr Marks, whose Polish family were killed in Treblinka concentration camp, has devoted much of his life to seeking compensation for money he believes was stolen from his family..

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New British envoy to Israel challenged

By Jonathan Kalmus, July 22, 2010

The man soon to be Britain's first Jewish ambassador to Israel was given a warm reception on Wednesday when he met the Manchester community.

Matthew Gould spoke at King David High School as part of a UK tour before leaving for Tel Aviv in eight weeks' time.

But it was not an easy ride for the Foreign Office high-flyer.

Almost as soon as he finished his hour-long address, he was challenged for not having spoken about the EU's attitude to Israel.

Another member of the audience questioned the viability of a two-state solution for Israel, a firm British government position.

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Top lawyer questioned by police

By Marcus Dysch, July 22, 2010

A top Jewish lawyer has been interviewed by police investigating the alleged theft of £158,000 of his former chambers' funds.

David Friesner, who has represented Premier League footballers and was one of Manchester's most highly regarded barristers, was questioned under caution over the missing money. He has not been arrested or charged.

Mr Friesner, of Salford, denies any wrongdoing. His solicitor, Ian Lewis, said he would continue to aid police.

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Israel trip for Jews, Muslims and Christians

By Marcus Dysch, July 22, 2010

An interfaith group is encouraging Jews, Christians and Muslims to join a study trip to Israel examining ways to bring peace to the Middle East.

St Ethelburga's Centre for Reconciliation and Peace is a Christian-led independent charity in east London.

It will run the eight-day "study and encounter" tour of Israel in November. Participants will be expected to work together to investigate how to create productive dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians.

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Anger over Scotland's 'double-decker' burials

By Marcus Dysch, July 22, 2010

The Scottish Council of Jewish Communities (SCoJeC) has said it "strongly objects" to proposals to allow the re-use of graves.

The Scottish Government is expected to back the deepening of burial sites, effectively giving the go-ahead to "double-deck" graves.

It is due to announce its plans next month following a lengthy consultation into solving the increasing difficulty of securing burial space.

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