UK news

Press TV anti-Israel bias slammed by Ofcom

By Jessica Elgot, August 3, 2009

Press TV, the English-language Iranian broadcaster, has breached the Communications Act 2003 because of the anti-Israeli bias present in two programmes presented by the MP George Galloway, Ofcom has announced.

Ofcom has investigated four programmes broadcast during the Gaza offensive in January, Comment and The Real Deal both presented by the British Respect MP Mr Galloway.


Katie Price's Israeli designer shopping spree

By Jessica Elgot, July 31, 2009

Katie Price caused a stir at Mayfair fashion boutique Doly, with a £42,000 shopping spree on two Israeli-designed dresses.

She choose two handmade dresses by Israeli designer Pnina Tornai costing £42,000 to wear to an event next week.

One of the dresses, a dove-grey ballgown with a diamante corset, fuelled speculation in the tabloids that she was shopping for a wedding dress with new beau, cagefighter Alex Reid.


Divorce expert awarded British Academy fellowship

By Jessica Elgot, July 31, 2009

Professor Michael Freeman, a distinguished expert on the law surrounding Jewish divorce and the agunah (chained woman), has been awarded a fellowship of the British Academy.

Professor Freeman was the first foreign lawyer to act for a Jewish defendant in a Soviet Court.

He also spearheaded the Chief Rabbi’s committee on reforms of gittin and helped draft legislation on religious marriages.


Kosher phones ring the changes

By Simon Rocker, July 30, 2009

Kosher phones — adapted to prevent access to the Internet — have finally arrived in London with the blessing of the strictly Orthodox rabbinate.

Rose Communications, a company in Stamford Hill, north London, is inviting customers to trade in their old mobiles free for the new handsets, which can also be modified to exclude the text messaging service.

Although kosher phones have been available in Israel for several years, it took the efforts of a local non-profit organisation, Hakol Kol — meaning “voice only” — to introduce them to London.


Neuberger becomes England's number 2 judge

By Simon Rocker, July 30, 2009

Lord Neuberger has been appointed the second most senior judge in England and Wales, the Master of the Rolls —the fourth Jewish holder of the post.

Now 61, the youngest law lord will take office in October as president of the Court of Appeal’s division and is ranked second only to the Lord Chief Justice.

He follows in the footstep of Lord Woolf, who was Master of the Rolls in 1996-2000, Sir Archibald Levin-Smith who held the post in 1900-1, and Sir George Jessel in the 19th century.


No kosher cops in ethnic police project

By Leon Symons, July 30, 2009

A pilot scheme to give ethnic victims of crime the right to ask for a police officer from their own community is unlikely to involve the Jewish community.

The scheme is currently being tested by London’s Metropolitan Police with the Sikh and Punjabi community. The police is also encouraging its staff associations — which represent minority groups, such as Muslims and Hindus — to promote the initiative within their respective communities.


MPs urge UK-Hamas talks

By Bernard Josephs, July 30, 2009

The influential House of Commons Foreign Affairs Select Committee this week called for the UK government to talk to Hamas, and in so doing end the international embargo on dealing with the organisation.

In its report on Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, which sparked expressions of concern from Jewish leaders, the committee also criticised Israel’s reaction to rocket attacks from Gaza as disproportionate.


Single conversion standard resisted

By Simon Rocker, July 30, 2009

The head of the United Synagogue’s Rabbinical Council (RCUS) has responded to a call for a common conversion standard by asserting that only Orthodox conversions are valid.

Jonathan Arkush, the Board of Deputies’ senior vice-president and a US member, publicly revived the idea of a unified approach at a Board meeting last week in order to prevent disputes over who is a Jew.


Shuls collect donations for arrested Jerusalem 'starvation' mother

By Marcus Dysch and Anshel Pfeffer, July 30, 2009

Donations were due to be collected in every strictly Orthodox synagogue in Stamford Hill yesterday to raise money for the family of a three-year-old boy allegedly starved by his mother in Jerusalem.

The toddler weighed just 14lb when he was admitted to hospital earlier this month.

The boy’s father grew up in the Stamford Hill community and his grandparents still live there.

Money was due to be collected following Tisha B’Av minchah services. Proceeds will be donated to the family to help pay for the mother’s legal costs and medical bills.


US teenager dies in arms of British girls in freak camp accident

By Marcus Dysch, July 30, 2009

An American teenager has died in the arms of two British camp leaders following a freak accident.

Leah Blum, who was 14, was killed after a 51ft branch fell 30ft from a tree and crushed her as she played with other youngsters in a tent.

Sophie Greenfield, of Radlett, and Leeds University student Tash Nineberg, both 21, rushed to help, but found Leah critically injured.

The British youth leaders had been in a neighbouring tent when the accident happened at the Emma Kaufmann Camp in Morgantown, West Virginia, USA, on Wednesday last week.