UK news

New UK ambassador to Israel

By Jessica Elgot, December 8, 2009

Matthew Gould has been appointed as the new ambassador to Israel.

He will take over from current ambassador Tom Phillips in late 2010.

Mr Gould, a former speech writer for Robin Cook, is currently the Principal Private Secretary to Foreign Secretary David Miliband.

He has also held positions in NATO, Tehran and Washington.

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Stacey Solomon at King Solomon High School

By Jessica Elgot, December 8, 2009

It was mayhem in Barkingside as Stacey Solomon and Dannii Minogue descended upon King Solomon High School with their X Factor entourage.

Pupils at the Jewish school waited outside for an hour for the X Factor finalist, who left the school three years ago.

Clutching homemade banners, the students screamed and shouted: “We love you Stacey” as the Dagenham diva made her way up the steps of the school, to be greeted by head teacher Spencer Lewis.

Inside, posters adorned the walls saying ‘Vote Stacey’.

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Rabbis attack Harrow anti-Muslim campaign

December 8, 2009

Leading community members in Harrow have condemned anti-Muslim campaigners planning a protest in the borough this weekend.

A letter signed by rabbis Aaron Goldstein, Hillel Athias-Robles, Kathleen Middleton, Frank Dabba Smith, and Michael Hilton has offered support for the borough's Muslims.

In an attack on “those whose only purpose is to spread hatred and fear”, they wrote: “We share the desire of the Muslim community of Harrow to respect our mutual traditions, to learn from each other's cultures and ways of life, and to live together in peace.”

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'Antisemitic' abuse at Salita match

By Faga Speker, Jonathan Kalmus and Jessica Elgot, December 7, 2009

The rabbi who accompanied boxer Dmitriy Salita to his fight against Amir Khan has expressed his shock at antisemitic abuse levelled at the Orthodox boxer and his supporters.

During the fight an Orthodox man was assaulted and abuse was hurled at Salita as he made his way to the ring.

The man from Manchester suffered a cut face when a drinks can was hurled at him along with antisemitic abuse during the Salita boxing match.

“After 76 seconds it was all hell let loose,” said the 45-year-old who wore a kippah to the fight.

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Conference guest guilty of hate speech

By Leon Symons, December 4, 2009

One of two South African guests believed to have been invited to a University and College Union conference in London to discuss a boycott of Israel has been found guilty of hate speech.

The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) has upheld a complaint against Bongani Masuku, the international secretary of COSATU, the South African trade union federation, made by the South African Board of Deputies.

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Tel Aviv fan attacked after Celtic match

By Robyn Rosen, December 3, 2009

A 53-year-old man has been arrested after an incident involving Hapoel Tel Aviv fans in a Glasgow pub.

The man was held after allegedly brandishing an offensive weapon in a pub in Sauchiehall Street before Wednesday’s Europa League game against Celtic.

A police spokeswoman said: “A 53-year-old man has been detained by police in relation to brandishing an offensive weapon during a disagreement between two groups of males.

“There are no reports of any person being injured.”

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Liberal Judaism backs campaign against sexual discrimination

By Simon Rocker, December 3, 2009

Liberal Judaism is backing a campaign to restrict the exemptions sought by some religious groups from anti-discrimination laws.

It is giving support to the Cutting Edge Consortium, a coalition of gay rights and progressive organisations, lobbying over the Equalities Bill currently before Parliament.

The bill is meant to consolidate existing laws against discrimination on grounds of race, religion, sexual orientation, gender, age and disability.

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Turkish and Israeli envoys rebuild ties

By Simon Rocker, December 3, 2009

Israel and Turkey’s ambassadors to the UK put aside the friction between their two countries over the past year by sharing a joint platform in London on Monday.

Israeli envoy Ron Prosor gave his Turkish counterpart Yigit Alpogan a friendly pat on the back after a well-attended meeting in Westminster jointly hosted by the Conservative Friends of Israel and Conservative Friends of Turkey.

Mr Prosor said the event was “testimony to the significance of the relationship between Israel and Turkey and the magnitude of the shared interests and values we hold together”.

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Israeli scientist denies global warming

By Robyn Rosen, December 3, 2009

A leading Israeli scientist has renounced the concept of man-made global warming at a lecture given to the British Technion Society, just days before world leaders meet to discuss ways to halt it.

Professor Giora Shaviv, professor of physics at the Technion, claimed that the accepted level of carbon dioxide in the air is wildly exaggerated.

Last week he gave the eighth Ron Arad lecture at the Royal College of Physicians, for the British Technion Society, which raises funds for Israel’s science university.

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Chabad to clear debt 'by early next year'

By Simon Rocker, December 3, 2009

The Lubavitch Foundation hopes by early next year to have finally cleared the debts which have led auditors to query the viability of the organisation.

In the last available accounts, for the year ending December 2007 — which were filed only this summer — auditors wrote of “material uncertainty which may cast significant doubt about the charity’s ability to continue as a going concern”.

The organisation still owed the Inland Revenue more than £462,000, according to the papers, and is believed still to be in negotiations with the tax authorities.

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