UK news

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.

More..

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.

More..

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.

More..

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'.

More..

Tories tell Livni: we’ll change 'arrest' law

By Martin Bright, February 18, 2010

Senior Conservatives have assured opposition leader Tzipi Livni that a Tory government would change the law that allows magistrates to issue arrest warrants for foreign politicians accused of war crimes.

Shadow business secretary Ken Clarke and shadow attorney general Edward Garnier met her in Israel as part of a party charm offensive.

More..

Sharp decline in gap years to Israel

By Simon Rocker, February 18, 2010

The number of youngsters taking gap years in Israel fell dramatically this year because of the financial climate.

Only around 60 went to Israel this year, compared to more than 100 a year over the past three, according to FZY, the UK's largest Zionist youth movement.

And Bnei Akiva, the religious Zionist movement, experienced a slide from about 40 to the lower 20s.

But leaders hope that numbers will begin to climb again this autumn with BA anticipating as many as 55 recruits to its yeshivah and year schemes which can cost as much as £16,000.

More..

PCC backs Julie Burchill

February 18, 2010

The newspaper industry watchdog has rejected a complaint against the JC about a comment by columnist Julie Burchill.

Reader Jess Wood complained that the comment that Christians were persecuted "all across the Muslim world" was inaccurate and misleading.

But the Press Complaints Commission ruled that care had been taken to ensure such "robust opinions" had sufficient basis in fact.

The article ran on December 11, headed "My quest for the one true faith".

More..

WJR’s plan for more medics for Haiti

By Leon Symons, February 18, 2010

The success of its Haiti earthquake fundraising appeal has spurred international aid charity World Jewish Relief to step up the help it is providing to the stricken island.

Chief executive Paul Anticoni has launched an appeal for medical and health experts to form teams to run four mobile clinics.

The teams - a doctor and two primary health care nurses - will visit displacement camps housing thousands of refugees whose homes were destroyed.

More..

Brick Lane 'hijab' gates to have Jewish Heritage centre close by

By Robyn Rosen, February 18, 2010

A row over proposals to install giant Islamic "headscarf" arches in Brick Lane, the heart of the old Jewish East End, has resulted in plans to create a Jewish East End Heritage Centre.

The arches are part of a £1.85million "culture trail" proposed by Tower Hamlets Council to "reflect the many cultural backgrounds that have occupied and sought refuge" in and around Brick Lane. Also planned is a 30ft minaret outside a mosque.

But the proposals have met opposition from local Jews as well as Muslims, heritage organisations and artist Tracey Emin, who lives near Brick Lane.

More..

Zionist Federation may sue David Bellamy over talk pull-out

By Marcus Dysch, February 18, 2010

The British Committee for the Universities of Palestine (Bricup) has claimed its campaign led TV botanist David Bellamy to pull out of a Zionist Federation science event.

Prof Bellamy was scheduled to be guest speaker at the Israel Blue White and Green event last week, but withdrew offering no explanation for his absence.

The JC understands that the ZF is now considering taking legal action against Prof Bellamy for breach of contract.

More..