UK news

Charedi father told to demolish family home

By Marcus Dysch, February 25, 2010

A Charedi father must demolish his family home after losing a planning dispute with a council.

Jacob Dreyfuss, president of Stamford Hill's Stolin-Karlin synagogue, rebuilt his two-storey home without planning permission, to add a cellar and a loft extension.

Hackney Council issued an enforcement notice and he appealed against it without success.

The government's Planning Inspectorate has now given him a year to "remove the unauthorised house".

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Reform Jews grill Chris Grayling on arrest law

By Marcus Dysch, February 25, 2010

Shadow Home Secretary Chris Grayling said this week that he was unsure whether it was necessary to change the law on universal jurisdiction.

He was speaking to two dozen members of the Reform community at the Sternberg Centre in Finchley, north west London, on Monday evening.

Audience members grilled him on how a prospective Tory administration would tackle the issue of universal jurisdiction.

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Britain now nerve centre for Hamas support

By Martin Bright, February 25, 2010

The full extent of the Hamas political and propaganda operation in Britain has been revealed in a shocking new report into the Palestinian terror organisation's supporters in this country.

According to the Israel-based Intelligence and Terrorism Information Centre, Britain has become a hub for Hamas activities in Europe, including virulently antisemitic propaganda aimed at children.

The report identifies Britain as a vital strategic centre for the terror group and names key Hamas activists in this country.

Many of them cannot be named for legal reasons.

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Brown: I'll change war crime arrest law

By Martin Bright, February 25, 2010

Gordon Brown has personally intervened to unblock the logjam over a change in the law that allows local magistrates to issue arrest warrants for visiting foreign politicians accused of war crimes.

The JC understands the Prime Minister is determined to press ahead with the law change before the election.

Last December, Foreign Secretary David Miliband promised to amend legislation after a warrant was issued for former Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni over her role in planning Operation Cast Lead in Gaza.

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Liberal Judaism to lobby Lords over gay marriage

By Jessica Elgot, February 23, 2010

Gay Jewish couples could soon be allowed to marry in synagogue after religious groups including Liberal Judaism and several Anglican bishops have lent their support to a relaxation of a ban.

An amendment to the Equality Bill is expected to be debated in the Lords next month to pave the way for the registration of civil ceremonies for gay couples in churches, synagogues and other religious premises.

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Manchester Uni to debate Israeli speaker ban

By Marcus Dysch, February 22, 2010

Manchester University Students' Union has not voted to ban all Israeli speakers from giving talks, despite earlier claims to the contrary.

Andrew Balcombe, speaking at the Zionist Federation dinner last night, claimed that the Union executive had voted to deny all Israelis a platform at the Union.

It had been thought that the executive had pushed through a motion backing a ban.

The JC now understands that an executive meeting is due to take place on Tuesday to discuss interpretations of a motion adopted after last year’s Gaza conflict.

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Leo Baeck's YouTube stars

By Jessica Elgot, February 19, 2010

Leo Baeck College has launched a YouTube video channel which will feature five videos of rabbis daily lives.

The videos feature five graduates of Leo Baeck College.

The Liberal Synagogue Elstree’s Rabbi Pete Tobias, West London Synagogue’s Rabbi Debbie Young Somers, Finchley Reform’s Rabbi Miriam Berger, Radlett and Bushey Reform’s Rabbi David Mitchell and student rabbi Sandra Kviat are shown in their daily duties and interviewed on the video.

The videos will show the young rabbis engaging in community work, education and interfaith activities.

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Accountant jailed for £100k fraud

By Leon Symons, February 19, 2010

An accountant has been jailed for two years for fraud and deception involving sums up to £100,000.

Fred Blacher, 65, of Grange Gardens, Pinner, had pleaded guilty at a previous hearing at Isleworth Crown Court in west London to charges of obtaining property by deception, fraud by abuse of his position and dishonestly making a false representation.

He has appeared there again and Judge Edmunds QC sentenced him to two years on each charge, with the sentences running concurrently, giving a total of two years in prison.

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Foreign Office: Mossad never told of Dubai murder

By Jessica Elgot, February 19, 2010

The Foreign Office has categorically denied it was warned hours before about a high-profile assassination, and that British passports would be used by Mossad.

Although the target, Hamas military leader Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, and the location, a luxury hotel in Dubai, were not named, a Mossad source allegedly told the Daily Mail that MI6 knew the January killing was imminent.

The Foreign Office, however, insists that ministers knew nothing about the six British passports, used to cover the identities of the assassins, before the names were released by Dubai police.

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Essex town to twin with Bethleham

By Robyn Rosen, February 18, 2010

A small rural Essex town is planning to twin with Bethlehem, becoming the first formal such arrangement between the Palestinian territories and England.

But some Jewish residents have expressed concern at the plan to twin with Mersea Island, which Mayor Peter Clements claims is not "political," but aimed at forming religious links.

The mayor said this week: "The deputy mayor of Bethlehem suggested the twinning and I thought: 'What a jolly good idea'.

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