UK news

MPs urge Israel to work with Palestinian Authority

By Leon Symons, February 18, 2010

Israel's best chance for peace is to work with the current leaders of the Palestinian Authority, according to the leader of a group of MPs which has just visited the region.

Mike Gapes, chairman of the Commons Foreign Affairs Select Committee, led nine of its 14 MPs from all parties on the four-day trip.

He said on their return: "I believe Israel should recognise that Salam Fayyad and Abu Mazen are the best hope they've got for peace. They are committed to a two-state solution and Israel should respond positively."

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Israelis warned of terror attacks abroad

By Anshel Pfeffer, February 18, 2010

Israelis have been warned that there is currently a heightened possibility of a terror attack on an Israeli or Jewish target abroad.

The Counter-terrorism Bureau in the Prime Minister's Office has issued a general travel warning, not connected to a specific country, which tells Israelis planning to spend time overseas that the probability of an attack will rise around the second anniversary of the killing of Hizbollah operations chief, Imad Mughniyeh, mid-February.

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Israeli ambassador 'grilled' on Dubai murder

By Jessica Elgot, February 18, 2010

Foreign Secretary David Miliband has confirmed British passports used by assassins who killed a Hamas leader in Dubai were old passports which did not contain microchip technology.

Mr Miliband said they were taking allegations of misuse of British passports very seriously.

He said: “The Permanent Secretary made clear how seriously we take any suggestion of fraudulent use of British passports, he also explained the concern that we have for British passport holders in Israel whose concerns have been well expressed by them, and we’re offering them consular support.

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Deputy Israeli ambassador cancels uni talk

By Jonathan Kalmus, February 18, 2010

Deputy Israeli ambassador Talya Lador-Fresher has cancelled a talk at Manchester University within the last hour amid rising security “threats” from protesters.

Ms Lador-Fresher was due to speak at 3pm to the politics society of Manchester University Students Union. But after 300 protesters were expected to turn out, organised by another student society Action Palestine, the embassy cancelled her visit.

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Israeli Embassy tweets 'We scored hit in Dubai'

By Jessica Elgot, February 18, 2010

A Twitter message from the Israeli embassy in London claiming that Israel scored ‘a hit in Dubai’ caused much consternation in Jerusalem.

The message, which linked to a news report of Israeli tennis player Shahar Peer’s victory in the quarter finals in the Dubai championships, was posted on the Embassy’s official Twitter feed as ambassador Ron Prosor went to a meeting at the Foreign Office.

The tweet read: “You heard it here first: Israeli tennis player carries out hit on Dubai target."

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Seven jailed for Gaza protest violence

By Jessica Elgot, February 17, 2010

Seven men, two of whom hold Palestinian nationality, have been jailed for offences during the January 2009 violent protest in London against Israel’s operation in Gaza.

At Isleworth Crown Court, one of the protesters was sentenced to 12 months in a young offenders’ institution (YOI) and three people were imprisoned for 18 months, one in a YOI.

Two more protesters were sentenced for two years, one in a YOI and another has been jailed for two and a half years. Six of the men pleaded guilty to violent disorder at the protest and one to handling stolen goods.

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Teen to website users: Pledge you aren't Jewish

By Jessica Elgot, February 17, 2010

A teenager who set up a racist website, which asked people to pledge they had never followed Judaism, is believed to be the youngest person prosecuted for inciting racial hatred.

The 17-year-old from north Norfolk set up his own website where visitors had to pledge they “have never been a follower of the Jewish religion”.

He also asked visitors to affirm they were white and they “believe in the segregation of the races and have never engaged in an inter-racial relationship.”

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Freud's Hitler painting to be auctioned for £10k

By Jessica Elgot, February 16, 2010

A painting by Adolf Hitler which may have hung in Sigmund Freud’s office is to be auctioned in Britain.

The starting price for the watercolour, signed “A.Hitler, 1910”, is £10,000.

Art experts believe the painting, of a church in the mountains, may have hung in psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud’s office in Vienna before he fled to London in 1938 to escape the Nazis. The painting has ‘Studio Medico Sigmund Freud Vienne’ written on the back.

Both Freud and Hitler lived in Vienna at the same time; the Austrian-born Hitler lived there while trying to make a living as a painter.

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University Challenge: Guttenplan vs Amit

By Jessica Elgot, February 16, 2010

It was a clash of the Jewish titans on University Challenge last night as the two contestants taking the competition by storm met in one of the programme’s quarter finals.

Gilead Amit, 20, a physics undergraduate and captain of the Imperial College, London team, met natural sciences student Alex Guttenplan, 19, the captain of Emmanuel College, Cambridge, in a close match which began with a lead by Imperial College.

But it was in the last few moments that Mr Guttenplan’s team stormed to victory, with the team scoring 95 points in the last few minutes.

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Longest ‘chained wife’ freed after husband’s death

By Leon Symons, February 15, 2010

The husband of the woman who was believed to be the world's longest-serving agunah – “chained wife” – has died.

Susan Zinkin and Israel Errol Elias divorced in the civil courts in 1962, but he refused to give her a get, or religious divorce.

Ms Zinkin was therefore unable to remarry under Orthodox auspices, or have more children without them being labelled mamser, or illegitimate.

News of the death of Mr Elias, who was 86 and lived in Golders Green, emerged on Monday.

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