UK news

Killer of Jewish shopkeeper 'could still be at large'

By Leon Symons, March 11, 2010

The contract killer of Beatrice "Biddy" Gold, the London woman shot dead in the basement of her clothing business 35 years ago, might still be at large, it emerged this week.

The Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) confirmed that the case of John Errol Heibner, convicted in 1976 of Mrs Gold's murder, will be referred back to the Court of Appeal.

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Cyril Ross: the fur coat spy

By Bernard Josephs, March 11, 2010

As unlikely spies go, a master furrier, head of the West End ladies' fur coat company, Swears and Wells, would be hard to beat.

But according to secret intelligence reports just released by the National Archives, Cyril Ross was just that.

As Israel fought for its existence in May 1948,leading Jews met in London to discuss supporting the embattled country.

The highly sensitive talks, held under conditions of strict secrecy, centred on the urgent need to raise large sums of money to bolster the struggling state.

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Jewish Book Week breaks records once again

By Marcus Dysch, March 11, 2010

The organisers of Jewish Book Week are celebrating a successful festival, despite the challenges posed by the economy.

The nine-day event ended on Sunday with a sell-out debate on the relationship between Israel and the diaspora.

Guardian and JC writer Jonathan Freedland chaired the lively session with panellists Daniel Levy, an adviser to American advocacy group J Street; human rights specialist Francesca Klug; and Professor David Newman of Ben-Gurion University.

Ticket sales for the festival remained at a similar level to last year's record-breaking 13,000 seats.

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Palestine group gets student union ban

By Marcus Dysch, March 11, 2010

A pro-Palestinian group which launched an angry protest against an Israeli speaker has been banned from using a student union's facilities.

Leeds University Union took action against the student Palestine Solidarity Group after protesters interrupted a talk given by Ishmael Khaldi, Israel's deputy consul.

They chanted and banged on the doors of the lecture theatre as Mr Khaldi spoke at the Jewish Society event.

The union's activities executive has stopped PSG booking rooms in the union building until the start of the next semester in April.

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Survey: most parents accept non-Jewish pupils

By Simon Rocker, March 11, 2010

The overwhelming majority in a survey of parents of Jewish pupils at Jewish schools say they would accept the admission of non-Jewish children.

Around half of the survey, conducted among parents of the three Jewish schools in Redbridge in Essex, would feel it acceptable for non-Jewish children to make up 10 per cent of the roll - while roughly a quarter of the parents would accept up to 25 per cent non-Jewish pupils.

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Analysis: You've betrayed the Jewish community, Jack Straw

By Martin Bright, March 11, 2010

The time has now come to tell the full story of how the government betrayed the Jewish community over "universal jurisdiction". In more than a decade of covering UK politics, I have never known a story quite like this.

It is now three months since David Miliband and Gordon Brown pledged to change the law that allowed an arrest warrant to be issued for Israeli opposition leader Tzipi Livni.

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Israel baffles and angers me, says Archbishop of Canterbury

By Robyn Rosen, March 11, 2010

The Archbishop of Canterbury has said that despite believing Israel has a right to defend itself, he is "baffled and angry" at some of its methods.

Dr Rowan Williams spoke in conversation with Times editor James Harding in front of more than 200 people at a JC-sponsored event organised by the Board of Deputies on Wednesday.

Less than 15 minutes into the 90- minute discussion, Mr Harding asked Dr Williams to face the "elephant in the room" and reveal his views on Israel.

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David Cameron: I will banish extremists from Britain

By Martin Bright, March 11, 2010

A Conservative government would ban extremist Islamist groups, refuse visas to hate preachers and insist that universities identify and root out radicals promoting violence, antisemitism and other racial intolerance on campus.

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Meir Persoff: 'Time for an alternative to Chief Rabbi'

By Simon Rocker, March 11, 2010

The Chief Rabbinate is a cause of division and Lord Sacks should be the last to hold the office, says a new book published next week.

Meir Persoff, the JC's former Judaism editor, in the first book-length study of the policies of Lord Sacks since he took office in 1991, argues that the role has become increasingly contentious in a religiously diverse Jewish community.

He writes in Another Way, Another Time: "The Chief Rabbinate has run its course and an alternative form of leadership is called for which recognises the plurality of the community."

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David Cameron: His Jewish roots

March 11, 2010

David Cameron talked warmly of finding his Jewish roots and said he had spoken about them to one of Britain’s leading rabbinical authorities.

Last July, Yaakov Wise of Manchester University’s Centre for Jewish Studies traced Mr Cameron’s family tree to 16th-century Jewish scholar Elijah Levita, author of the Yiddish chivalric verse romance, the Bovo-Bukh.

The Tory leader consulted Dayan Ehrentreu, former head of the London Beth Din, about his roots, a meeting he called “one of the highlights of my year”.

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