UK news

Firemen chop driver out of butcher’s van

By Marcus Dysch, April 2, 2009

A kosher butcher shop’s van driver had to be cut out of his vehicle on Wednesday morning following a serious road collision with another car.

The H Gross & Son employee was trapped for more than an hour after the crash at the junction of Princes Park Avenue and Golders Green Road, close to the store, shortly before 11am.

An eyewitness at Kay’s Delicatessen, opposite the junction, said: “The driver hurt his back and the firemen were worried about taking him out of the van, so they had to cut the roof off.”


MP seeks change in the law to boost restitution of looted art

By Simon Rocker, April 2, 2009

A fresh move has been made to change the law so that art looted by the Nazis which has been found in British museums can be returned to the heirs of the original owners.

There had been hopes that legislation long promised by the government would be included in a heritage protection bill, but the bill was omitted from the Queen’s Speech last December.

Now Andrew Dismore, Labour MP for Hendon, is moving a private member’s bill, which will have its second reading this month.


The children Britain took to its heart

By Jessica Elgot, April 2, 2009

It is one of the most touching stories of survival in history — and, suitably for Pesach, it is the story of an exodus with an unexpectedly happy ending.

Seventy years ago, 10,000 Jewish children from Nazi-occupied central Europe survived the Holocaust because they were sent to Britain to grow up here. They were welcomed by generous British families and were allowed to come thanks to the dedication of Jewish groups fighting to bring them to safety on the Kindertransport.


Union takes softer stance on Israel

By Leon Symons, April 2, 2009

The University and College Union’s 2009 congress in May is set to debate a number of motions about Israel — but none has called for a boycott.

Several branches have put forward draft motions condemning Israel’s action in Gaza with calls for the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador, a ban on arms sales to Israel and a ban on imports of all goods from West Bank settlements.


Government quells fears over boycott

By Leon Symons, April 2, 2009

A special meeting to discuss the guidelines for the labelling of products from the West Bank was held in the Cabinet Office on Tuesday.

It involved representatives of food retailers, producers and suppliers and the British Retail Consortium, alongside civil servants from the Department of Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), the Foreign Office, HM Revenue and Customs and one non-governmental organisation (NGO), Oxfam.

But it seemed that fears of a “back-door” boycott of Israeli goods through the labelling of products from the West Bank may have receded.


Roman Abramovich's holiday plans

By Simon Griver, April 2, 2009

Why is this Russian oligarch different from all other Russian oligarchs?

Because, as the JC can exclusively reveal, Roman Abramovich will spend the entire Passover week in Israel.

The Chelsea owner will fly to Eilat in his personal jet next Wednesday where he is booked into the presidential suite at the Isrotel Royal Beach.

Mr Abramovich is plainly expecting friends. Eytan Loewenstein, spokesman for the Isrotel chain, said: “Mr Abramovich has booked a total of 36 rooms for Passover week including 16 suites.


UK rabbis banned from Gaza over security fears

By Simon Rocker, April 2, 2009

Two prominent British Liberal rabbis have been denied entry to Gaza after the Israeli authorities said it was too dangerous for them to visit.

Rabbi David Goldberg, emeritus rabbi of the Liberal Jewish Synagogue, St John’s Wood, and Rabbi Danny Rich, chief executive of Liberal Judaism, had originally obtained Israeli clearance.

But when they arrived at the Erez crossing point into Gaza on the Sunday before last, Rabbi Goldberg said an Israeli officer told them: “Sorry, you can’t go, we’ve had security information that it would be dangerous.”


The Office goes to Israel

By Jan Shure, April 2, 2009

From Kiryat Shemona to Eilat, actors are ironing their polyester business shirts, scouring eBay for second-hand C&A suits and learning how to knot a necktie properly.

They will be bidding to play the Israeli counterparts of David Brent, Gareth Keenan, Tim Canterbury, Dawn Tinsley, Chris Finch and the rest of the team from the Slough branch of timber merchants Wernham Hogg.

Yes, Israel is to air its own version of The Office, Ricky Gervais’s hit sitcom, after BBC Worldwide licensed the format to the Israeli satellite broadcaster Yes-DBS.


Kabbalist takes on ghost

By Simon Rocker, April 2, 2009

A top kabbalist has been asked to help a United Synagogue rabbi whose home is reportedly being visited by the ghost of a past minister.

Website reports on the haunting referred to an unnamed London rabbi, who the JC now understands to be Rabbi Yitzchok Sufrin, the part-time minister of Enfield and Winchmore Hill Synagogue in Middlesex.

The haunted rabbi initially turned to Rabbi Levy Yitzhak Raskin, a Lubavitch dayan in London, who contacted the Jerusalem office of the Rabbinical Centre of Europe (RCE).


Jacqui Smith allows in Hizbollah man

By Leon Symons, April 2, 2009

The Home Office has refused to act over the presence in the UK of a Hizbollah fighter and leader of a radical Muslim group, despite accepting that his presence was not conducive to the public good.

The president of the Board of Deputies, Henry Grunwald QC, wrote to Home Secretary Jacqui Smith last week about Lebanese-born Dyab Abou Jahjah, who fought for Hizbollah against Israel before moving to Belgium, where he started an organisation called the Arab European League that became involved in riots after the murder of a Moroccan schoolteacher.