UK news

Charedim applaud visa rule change

By Simon Rocker, December 29, 2010

The Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations has welcomed a court ruling which may force the government to ease restrictions on marriage visas.

Two years ago, new rules were introduced to refuse entry for spouses from outside the European Union if they or their British spouse were under 21.

But the change hit the Charedi community, where people marry young and often choose partners from Israel or the USA.

The Court of Appeal has now called into question the whole policy - which was designed to combat forced marriages - after upholding appeals on behalf of two non-Jewish couples.

More..

Rabbis targeted by 'bomb plot terror suspects'

By Marcus Dysch, December 29, 2010

Two rabbis were said to be among a group of potential targets for a gang of nine terror suspects, a court has heard.

Other possible targets for the alleged bomb plot included the London Stock Exchange, the US Embassy, Big Ben and the Palace of Westminster.

Details of who the two rabbis are, and their synagogues, cannot be reported for legal reasons.

The gang appeared at Westminster Magistrates' Court on Monday and were remanded in custody. They
will appear at the Old Bailey on January 14.

More..

Britain leads in Israeli denial efforts

By Martin Bright, December 29, 2010

An Israeli academic who spent five years in London studying the "red-green alliance" between the hard left and international Islamist groups has produced a comprehensive survey of the anti-Israel movement in the UK.

More..

Aliyah figures from UK drop

By Robyn Rosen, December 28, 2010

The number of people moving to Israel from Britain has gone down by 11 per cent.

A total of 756 people made aliyah this year, 11 per cent less than 2009, when 853 people moved from Britain.

A spokesman from the Jewish Agency, which released the figures today, said: "One has to look at the bigger picture. You cannot base a trend on one year. It's still a very large number compared with before the 21st century. I wouldn't read into it."

All together, 19,129 people around the world are estimated to move to Israel in 2010, 16 per cent higher than the previous year.

More..

MP Luciana Berger's gifts from suspected stalker

By Marcus Dysch, December 24, 2010

Britain’s youngest Jewish MP has complained to the Commons authorities about a suspected serial stalker.

Luciana Berger, 29, received a pair of diamond earrings and inappropriate cards from the man, who has also pestered other female politicians.

Ms Berger, a former director of Labour Friends of Israel, was elected as the party’s MP for Liverpool Wavertree in May.

The man, thought to be American, is also believed to have sent a bracelet to a second female MP, as well as sending other cards with “odd messages”.

More..

Board president against invite to Palestinian envoy

By Simon Rocker, December 24, 2010

Vivian Wineman, the president of the Board of Deputies, is opposed to issuing an invitation to Manuel Hassassian, the Palestinian Authority’s UK envoy, to speak to the Board.

Mr Wineman had been urged to invite Professor Hassassian by the Board’s treasurer Laurence Brass, after the idea was suggest ed by another deputy at recent Board meetings.

But Mr Wineman, speaking from Israel on Friday, said that although the suggestion was still to be discussed by the executive, he was opposed to it.

More..

How a street cleaner gave a family back its memories

By Jessica Elgot, December 23, 2010

Five family albums dumped in a rubbish bin in Western Scotland have been returned to a delighted family - who now live in Israel.

The photos, which include the wedding and barmitzvah pictures of the Shenkin family, were found in Ardrishaig, Argyllshire, around 90 miles from Glasgow, and traced back to relative, Yaron Soifer, whose mother is originally from Glasgow.

Tel Aviv businessman Mr Soifer hopes to receive the photos in time for his mother Lorna's 70th birthday on New Year's Eve - but snow may prevent the albums reaching Israel in time.

More..

Scotland: we must fight hate too

By Stephanie Brickman, December 23, 2010

Ken Macintosh, Labour MSP for Eastwood, a constituency in Glasgow with a sizeable Jewish community, has criticised the Scottish Parliament for taking a passive stance on antisemitism.

In particular, Mr Macintosh said he was concerned that there was no Scottish representation on the cross-government working group on antisemitism.

He said: "I would like to see us represented on the group, or at the very least to comment on its findings. It's a national initiative, so why don't we participate?"

More..

Board publishes Zionism for clergy

By Simon Rocker, December 22, 2010

The Board of Deputies has responded to growing anti-Israel feeling among Christians by publishing a defence of Zionism from leading rabbis.

Five thousand copies have been published of a 30-page collection of essays, entitled Zionism: A Jewish Communal Response from the UK.

Its editor, Liberal Judaism chairman Lucian Hudson, , said it was "designed to make clear that Jews across the community are united in the belief that Zionism is central to Judaism. We hope it will be read by many ordinary church members."

More..

FOI papers 'lost', say

By Jonathan Kalmus, December 22, 2010

Civil servants lost a Freedom of Information appeal which could shed light on a missing Israeli soldier.

The Foreign Office said it did not know what had happened to papers requesting a 1982 ambassador's report, which may have contained references to Zachary Baumel. It only said they had been passed to the Information Commissioner's Office. But an official there said: "The FO are dealing with it. It's not an ongoing case with us."

Now lawyers acting for the soldier's family have been asked by the FO to make a fresh appeal. But they fear the mix-up could be a delaying tactic.

More..