UK news

Polish squatters hijack the ‘shul’ pub

By Marcus Dysch, April 29, 2009

A group of Polish squatters have taken control of a pub bought by a Jewish community group which hoped to turn it into a synagogue.

The Swan, in Stamford Hill, has been empty since it closed in January when it was sold to members of the Bobov community.

It is thought the squatters entered the building a number of weeks ago and four people are now living there permanently.

The pub’s front door displays a notice from the group quoting the Criminal Law Act, which is widely used by illegal tenants to make it a crime in most circumstances for a landlord to force entry.

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Firm gives shuls chance to go green

By Leon Symons, April 29, 2009

Someone has finally found a use for all the hot air generated in synagogues.

The British arm of German company Stiebel-Eltron, which specialises in renewable energy, is offering a free “energy efficiency” survey of any synagogue and adjoining hall in the country.

The survey will examine the heat loss and demands of the building and then make recommendations about how to cut costs and energy bills. It will also point up the incentives for the synagogue to go “green”.

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Orthodox family told to remove their loft

By James Brewster, April 29, 2009

A strictly Orthodox family may be forced to tear down an extension to their Hackney home after a High Court judge rejected their bid to save it.

Matilda Schlesinger argues that the large loft extension at Lynmouth Road, Stamford Hill, is essential to provide enough room for her family, which includes 10 children, ranging in age from two to 18.

But Hackney Council and a planning inspector both rejected the application for the extension — which is already built — on the grounds that it is out of character with the area and the house itself.

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Israeli in police death crash case

By Leon Symons, April 27, 2009

An Israeli man living in Golders Green has been charged with death by dangerous driving after being involved in an accident with an off-duty motor-cycle policeman.

Liron Shnaider, 26, of Stanley House, Finchley Road, appeared at Brent Magistrates’ Court at the week-end. He has also been charged with failing to stop at the scene of a personal injury. He was remanded in custody and is due to appear at Wood Green Crown Court today (Friday May 1).

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Palestine group told: return Lotto cash

By Marcus Dysch, April 23, 2009

A Palestinian organisation has been ordered to return part of a National Lottery grant after an investigation found the money had been used to promote an unauthorised project.

Palestine Lives was handed £7,434 to run a one-day cultural festival at Manchester’s Albert Square in June last year.

But the group later used the grant to promote two film weekends, claiming they were “funded by the National Lottery”.

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Charedi wins battle to keep loft

By Marcus Dysch, April 23, 2009

A diamond wholesaler has avoided a hefty fine after facing a rare criminal prosecution following a lengthy planning dispute with a council.

David Kahn, 59, has been at loggerheads with Haringey Council for six years over alterations made to a home he owns in Tottenham, north London.

His son, Mordechai, lives at the house with his wife and four children.

The council launched criminal proceedings after the family failed to downscale a loft extension, built in contravention of planning permission.

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Banned. Do they offend you?

By Marcus Dysch, April 23, 2009

A group of young Israeli entertainers are at the centre of an argument which has forced the relocation of an annual Yom Ha’atzmaut show.

The Zionist Federation planned to hold its annual family entertainment night at the Bloomsbury Theatre in central London next Tuesday (April 28), but was forced to move it after the venue refused to host members of the IDF dance troupe.

The decision followed complaints from anti-Israel groups about the performance, which was due to be part of the Israel 61 Family Show.

It will now take place at a secret location in north London.

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Claire Short attacked for Hamas talk

By Marcus Dysch, April 23, 2009

Former cabinet minister Clare Short has been criticised for hosting a parliamentary question-and-answer session with Khaled Mashal, head of Hamas’s political bureau.

Mr Mashal was due to appear by satellite link at Wednesday evening’s “A Talk with Hamas” event.

The hardliner has repeatedly ruled out recognition of Israel and advocated suicide attacks. He was the target of a botched Mossad assassination attempt in Jordan in 1997.

Last month Ms Short led a delegation of MPs to meet Mr Mashal in Damascus, where he lives in exile.

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Man in toy gun attack

By Marcus Dysch, April 22, 2009

A man has admitted shooting an Orthodox Jew with a pellet from a toy gun.

Kris Cherry told magistrates in Gateshead that he carried out the attack on March 14 because he “didn’t like Jews”.

The victim, who has not been named, was not injured despite being hit on the arm by the pellet. It is thought his overcoat saved him from greater harm.

Unemployed Cherry, 20, was in a car travelling through the centre of the Bensham community and said he had fired the gun “for a laugh”.

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Students join Blair interfaith project

By Marcus Dysch, April 22, 2009

Two Jewish students have been selected to take part in a Tony Blair Faith Foundation leadership programme tackling malaria.

Natasha Steele, from Edgware, and Stanmore-based Zac Newman will join eight other Faiths Act Fellows from Britain on the 10-month scheme.

They will undergo training in Africa and the United States with fellows from Canada and the US, before returning to the UK where they will work in interfaith pairs educating religious communities about the dangers of the disease.

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