UK news

Loach begs for a boycott

February 10, 2011

Film director Ken Loach has called for Britons to give "unremitting support to the Palestinian struggle".

Speaking at a special screening of his 2006 film The Wind That Shakes The Barley, in aid of Palestinian charity Camden Abu Dis on Monday night, he called for a total boycott of Israel.

He said: "Please, I beg you, support the sanctions. The contempt for international law that Israel is showing is not acceptable.

"The politicians won't do anything about it. It's now for civil society to take action by boycotting Israeli goods and academics."


Four-month curfew for Shabbat groper

February 10, 2011

An Orthodox student who groped a 17-year-old Austrian tourist during a game of spin-the-bottle has been given a nine-month supervision order.

Menachem Chaim Unger, 21, was convicted of sexual assault after he groped the girl at his friend's flat.

Middlesex University student Mr Unger and three others played the sexually-charged game after a Shabbat dinner at the Golders Green Hillel House. During the game, players stripped off, while the victim was asked to remove her underwear and give them to Mr Unger.


Love-feud knife attacker gets 7 years

By Robyn Rosen, February 10, 2011

A 20-year-old man has been jailed for seven years after luring a teenager to a restaurant and repeatedly stabbing him because of a feud over a girl.

Jacob Butchoff, a former pupil at the exclusive Hampstead school, UCS, had arranged a meeting at the Hainenese Buffet in Golders Green Road with love rival, Jonathan Kaae-Mortensen.

Then he stabbed the 18-year-old Persian Jew in the neck, ear, back, shoulder and cheek.


Boris Johnson keeps faith with social links

By Simon Rocker, February 10, 2011

Around 300 people from London's religious communities explored ways of co-operating on social projects at a conference hosted by Mayor of London Boris Johnson on Tuesday.

The event was organised by Jewish philanthropist Maurice Ostro, vice-chairman of the Council of Christians and Jews and chief executive of the Fayre Share Foundation, in conjunction with the Faiths Forum for London.

Alex Goldberg, co-chairman of the forum, said its purpose was to "get faith leaders, business and local government together to look at ways we can collaborate in a time of economic downturn".


Having kids, the strictly Orthodox way

By Jessica Elgot, February 10, 2011

More Orthodox couples are considering radical ways to get pregnant, including surrogacy and sperm donation, with medical experts advising that these treatments can be compatible with Jewish law.

Dr Simon Fishel, a leading fertility specialist, said rabbis were open to new kinds of treatment, but couples were often subjected to traumatic conflicting advice.

He said: "These are areas of great ethical debate, even in the secular world. Judaism is a really positive religion when it comes to modern medicine. But the debate can cause real discrepancies and can be very confusing."


University to act after Israeli diplomat 'mob riot'

February 10, 2011

A university has pledged to take action after the Israeli Foreign Ministry's most senior Muslim diplomat faced a student mob which shouted him down and called him a Nazi.

Ishmael Khaldi had to be surrounded by security guards as he began to speak at Edinburgh University last week.

Protesters marched towards him screaming "Viva, Viva Palestina" and "boycott Israel" as they unfurled Palestinian flags.

At one stage the mic was ripped from his lectern and a demonstrator shouted: "We don't discuss with the Ku Klux Klan, why should we discuss with this thug?"


Birmingham Palestine society inquiry

By Robyn Rosen, February 10, 2011

Birmingham University's Friends of Palestine Society is under investigation after a talk it hosted during which US army veteran Mike Prysner compared Gaza to a concentration camp.

Birmingham Guild of Students (the student union) has received 60 complaints about the event, held on January 26, the same day as the university held a Holocaust Memorial Day commemoration.

During his lecture, Mr Prysner said: "Gaza, quite literally, is one massive concentration camp.


We must prioritise saving marriage, says Deech

By Jessica Elgot, February 10, 2011

The Chief Rabbi has urged the coalition to make marriage a firm part of its commitment to the "Big Society."

At Thursday's Lords debate on marriage and support in British society, Lord Sacks was due to argue that married parents better equip children for the tougher economic and social conditions, which are likely to lie ahead.

He described marriage as the best way to form a strong family, a "publicly demonstrated act of commitment".


IDF man used disguise in UK

By Jennifer Lipman, February 10, 2011

A senior official in the Israeli army has revealed that his fear of being targeted by anti-Israel activists prompted him to travel to London last year in disguise.

More than a year after Israeli Opposition leader Tzipi Livni cancelled a London speech for fear of arrest under Britain's universal jurisdiction law, Brigadier-General Avi Benayahu said he found it necessary to visit Britain under "a borrowed identity" and accompanied by security guards.


Middle East turmoil prompts Hague to get blunt with Bibi

February 10, 2011

William Hague's dramatic intervention in the Middle East peace process this week can not easily be dismissed as spin or journalistic hype.

It is no accident that he spoke so candidly to The Times during his mission to five countries affected by the "New Arab Revolt", nor that he used such strong language.

His determination to talk tough to Israel and the Obama administration about the urgency of restarting the peace process in the light of events in Egypt marks a significant development.