UK news

Stamford Hill sex predator fails in bid to clear his name

By James Brewster, October 8, 2009

A man who had sex with a 15-year-old Orthodox Jewish boy has failed to clear his name in the Court of Appeal.

Najibullah Ahmadzai, 25, of Walthamstow, was found guilty at Snaresbrook Crown Court in June last year of sexual activity with a child.

Deemed a danger to the public, he was sentenced to indefinite imprisonment for public protection and ordered to serve at least three-and-a-half years behind bars before he could apply for parole.

He had sex with his victim, a member of the Orthodox Jewish community, after they met at a Stamford Hill internet cafe, where Ahmadzai worked.

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Plymouth synagogue sells off its family silver

By Robyn Rosen, October 8, 2009

The director of the charity Jewish Heritage UK has spoken out against a congregation which is selling its historic collection of silver Judaica.

Rare silver religious ornaments from the Plymouth Synagogue will be sold at auction by Bonhams on November 25. Among the items are a yad (pointer) and a pair of rimmonim (decorative finials for a sefer Torah), thought to have been made in London in 1783 and considered among the most original sets known to exist; and a Torah breastplate, made in Warsaw in about 1820.

The total collection is estimated to sell for between £50,000 and £60,000.

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Teen must pay £1000 after shul vandalism

By Marcus Dysch, October 8, 2009

A Muslim teenager has been ordered to pay a Jewish community compensation after he smashed its synagogue windows with a baseball bat.

Junaid Javed must pay £1,000 to Edinburgh Hebrew Congregation after admitting the attack had been motivated by antisemitism.

But the congregation’s Rabbi David Rose expressed surprise that Javed had instructed his lawyer to tell the court he had visited the shul to apologise after the incident.

Rabbi Rose said he did not recall meeting the teenager.

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Tel Aviv gets bus publicity drive in UK

October 8, 2009

EasyJet’s new flights to Tel Aviv, which start next month, will be promoted by a high-profile campaign in the heart of London next week.

A double-decker bus will tour the capital, bringing the tastes and crafts of a Tel Aviv street market to various locations.

The campaign, jointly mounted by easyJet and the Israeli Embassy, also celebrates the centenary of Tel Aviv.

Ambassador Ron Prosor commented: “Tel Aviv has always been famous for its oranges.

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Matzah price wars: it's Rakusen's vs Tesco

By Marcus Dysch, October 8, 2009

Rakusen’s, one of Britain’s biggest kosher food producers, will no longer supply its products to Tesco supermarkets following a pricing dispute.

The Leeds-based company’s products — including matzah, soups and biscuits — will not be available after current stocks runs out.

Rakusen’s said it had taken the decision following discussions over margins and supply prices. It reached the conclusion, a spokeswoman said, that “Tesco thinks it rules the world, but we are standing up for ourselves, and said no.”

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Solicitor vows to continue BBC Middle East bias battle

By Simon Rocker, October 8, 2009

London solicitor Steven Sugar, despite a legal setback, has vowed to continue his five-year-long campaign to force the BBC to release the Balen Report on its Middle East coverage.

In the High Court last week, Mr Justice Irwin ruled that the BBC was exempt from having to disclose the report under the Freedom of Information Act.

But Mr Sugar said: “Obviously I’m disappointed but we are contemplating an appeal to the Court of Appeal and it is likely that we will do so.”

He added that he was determined to fight for the principle of public accessibility to BBC material.

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Collins apologises for Hitler-birthday diary

By Leon Symons, October 8, 2009

The maker of one of the country’s most popular diaries has pledged that it will never again use Hitler’s birthday as an “interesting fact of the day”.

The April 20 entry in the Collins Debden 2009 diary was spotted by central London art gallery owner Helly Nahmad. But his initial complaint to the company went unanswered so this week he wrote again. The second time the company responded and has now said that the reference was not in next year’s diary and would not appear again.

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How Golders Green got the X Factor... and Stacey Solomon

By Robyn Rosen, October 8, 2009

A music teacher at King Solomon High School has spoken of the “big impression” made on her by X Factor finalist, Stacey Solomon, who this week moved into Golders Green.

Rachel Dickson, who taught Stacey during her music GCSE three years ago, said she was delighted to see Stacey sing one of her exam performance pieces — Somewhere Over the Rainbow — in last week’s programme.

“My first impression of Stacey Solomon was of a chatty, lively girl with a powerful voice and a huge personality,” she said.

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Equality watchdog in JFS fight

By Simon Rocker, October 8, 2009

Britain’s equality watchdog has entered the legal battle over the admissions policy of Jewish schools.

The Supreme Court this week granted the Equalities and Human Rights Commission the right to be an intervener in the forthcoming appeal case, which will enable it to make submissions to the court.

JFS, the country’s largest Jewish school, is trying to reverse a decision by the Court of Appeal in June that it is unlawful to offer places on the basis of whether a child’s parent is Jewish.

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Tory calls for government to blacklist neo-Nazi group

By Leon Symons, October 8, 2009

Shadow Security Minister Baroness Neville-Jones has called on Home Secretary Alan Johnson to proscribe the extreme right-wing group Blood & Honour.

Last week the group was reported to the police for distributing racially offensive CDs which spread hatred against Jews, Asians and blacks. The Home Office confirmed that its status would be re-assessed.

Baroness Neville-Jones said: “This is a flagrant example of the kind of hate speech that should be dealt with. There is a danger that this is growing in extent and goes unchecked.

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