UK news

The day of the wunderrebbe

By Jonathan Kalmus, February 17, 2011

At a private house in Whitefield, north Manchester, on Sunday, people were spilling out of the front door, crowding onto the path, and queuing, in their hundreds, for more than four hours.

The attraction? A sweet-faced, bearded rabbi, Moshe Taub, who has electrified communities up and down the country.


Ron Prosor caught in UN crossfire fight

February 17, 2011

The identity of Israel's next ambassador to the United Kingdom has become the latest bone of contention in the growing political feud between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman.

The current ambassador, Ron Prosor, is poised to be appointed in the next few weeks as Israel's new ambassador to the United Nations.


Islamists get a key role in parliament

By Martin Bright and Simon Rocker, February 17, 2011

Jewish organisations and politicians have expressed outrage at the decision by the new All Party Parliamentary Group on Islamophobia to retain the controversial Islamist organisation iEngage as its secretariat.

Described by the CST as having "a troubling attitude to antisemitism", concerns about its Islamist politics had earlier led to the resignation of the group's Conservative chair Kris Hopkins MP, and one of its vice-chairs, Jewish Labour peer Greville Janner.


British Reform leader Mike Grabiner picked for international role

By Jennifer Lipman, February 16, 2011

British Jew has been named as the new chairman of the World Union for Progressive Judaism.

Mike Grabiner, the former chair of the Movement for Reform Judaism will replace current chairman, Californian Steven Bauman, at the umbrella organisation. The WUPJ serves communities in more than 45 countries around the world.

Mr Grabiner, a member of Finchley Reform Synagogue, is the chair of governors for the recently opened cross-communal secondary school JcoSS.

A Cambridge University graduate, he grew up in an Orthodox household but moved to Reform Judaism as an adult.


Ladbrokes founder Cyril Stein dies

By Marcus Dysch, February 16, 2011

Philanthropist Cyril Stein, the former chairman of the Ladbrokes betting company, has died.

Mr Stein was a key fundraiser and supporter of the JNF and was UJIA honorary vice-president.

He was in his early 80s and died in Jerusalem on Tuesday.

Mr Stein founded the Ladbroke betting business and floated it on the London Stock Exchange in 1967. At the time it was worth £1 million.

When he left the company in 1994 it was valued at around £2 billion. His personal wealth was estimated at £60m in 2008.

Mr Stein was chair of the JNF’s £10m project to redevelop the Negev.


EDL partners with far-right US Jewish group

By Jessica Elgot, February 16, 2011

The head of the EDL’s Jewish division Roberta Moore has announced a partnership with far-right American group the Jewish Task Force on the EDL Facebook page.

The JTF leader Victor Vancier has also posted a podcast where he said: “We were contacted by the English Defence League last few weeks and we have agreed we want to work together on joint projects. They are a major organisation, with mass media coverage.


Islamophobia group keeps controversial anti-Zionist link

By Martin Bright, February 15, 2011

The new all party parliamentary group on Islamophobia has voted by a narrow margin to retain the controversial anti-Zionist iEngage organisation as its secretariat.

Concerns about the sectarian politics of iEngage (also known simply as Engage) led to the resignation of the group's Conservative Chair Kris Hopkins MP and one of its vice-chairs, veteran Jewish Labour peer Greville Janner.

The appointment is a direct challenge to Prime Minister David Cameron, who called for Islamist groups to be given a wide berth in a recent speech to a security conference in Munich.


Lieberman: Arad won't replace Prosor as Israeli ambassador to UK

By Jennifer Lipman, February 14, 2011

Israel’s Foreign Minister has ruled out Uzi Arad to replace Ron Prosor as the Israeli ambassador to the UK.

It was confirmed yesterday that Mr Prosor would be stepping down from his role after more than three years in it, in order to take the job of Israeli ambassador to the UN.

Sources suggested he would be succeeded by Mr Arad, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's current National Security Adviser.

But Avigdor Lieberman said today that this would not be the case and strongly criticised Mr Netanyahu for interfering in a Foreign Ministry decision.


Lawyer who challenged BBC dies at 60

By Simon Rocker, February 14, 2011

A campaign to force the BBC to release an internal report on its Middle East coverage is to continue despite the death of the man who launched it.

London solicitor Steven Sugar, who died of cancer aged 60 last month, first challenged the corporation to release the Balen report under the Freedom of Information Act six years ago.

Mr Sugar had fought several rounds in court, seeking the publication of the document.

But a Supreme Court hearing, which was due to begin last week, has now been postponed till November.


Guardian 'misled' readers on Livni Palestine Papers quote

By Jennifer Lipman, February 14, 2011

The Guardian has admitted that it used a quote from Israeli opposition leader Tzipi Livni on the Palestine Papers in a “misleading” way.

The newspaper’s corrections and clarifications editor said Ms Livni's comment on the documents, released by Al-Jazeera last month, “was cut in a way that may have given a misleading impression”.