UK news

Life lesson for ‘fit Jew’ students

By Marcus Dysch, December 18, 2008

Oxford students will attend a cultural diversity course as punishment for their “bring a fit Jew” party.

Members of the under-21 rugby team will take part in the special seminar in January, but university proctors have refused to reveal details.

It has been organised after an investigation into last month’s party at which players were invited to find “fit” female students as dates and “dress as Jews”.

The event was cancelled following complaints from Jewish students, but some team members went ahead as planned.


The end of the road for posters like this

By Marcus Dysch, December 18, 2008

Roadside billboards in the heart of a Jewish community are to be removed after objectors claimed they were too provocative.

The Advanced Medical Institute (AMI) adverts for nasal sprays to help with impotence resulted in more than 150 complaints to the Advertising Standards Authority.

Barnet Councillor Brian Gordon demanded action from his own officials. He said: “To a lot of people, seeing a great big poster with the word ‘sex’ on is very provocative.


MPs ask Red Cross to help Shalit

By Bernard Josephs, December 18, 2008

Red Cross officials have assured an all-party delegation of MPs that they are continuing to pressure armed factions in Gaza to allow them to visit captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, held captive for more than two years.

“We have made it clear that the Shalit case is very high on our list of priorities and we deplore the fact that our delegates have been refused access to him,” a spokesperson for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said after the meeting in London on Wednesday.


Brown criticises Israel’s Palestinian policy

By Anshel Pfeffer, December 18, 2008

Prime Minister Gordon Brown criticised Israel’s policy on the territories at a London conference on investment in the Palestinian economy this week.


Olmert scorns idea of ‘economic peace’

By Daniella Peled and Anshel Pfeffer, December 18, 2008

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert poured scorn on the concept of boosting the Palestinian economy as a way of achieving peace during a 24-hour visit to London this week.

Speaking at a gathering of Jewish community leaders, he described “a new concept: an economic peace which will help to bring a real peace.
“I wish it could be true, but I know it is an illusion, a slogan.”


The barmitzvah band that helped Alex get the X Factor

By Candice Krieger, December 18, 2008

X Factor winner Alexandra Burke may now be firmly on the path to international stardom. But she is unlikely to forget the Jewish support which helped set her on her way.

The 20-year-old from Islington, north London, who was unsuccessful in her attempt to make the finals in 2005, has spent the past two years singing at weddings and barmitzvahs with leading simchah performers the Gilev Showband, who helped her regain her confidence.


Anger over missionary leaflet drive

By Jonathan Kalmus, December 18, 2008

Evangelical Christian missionaries have been targeting Manchester’s Jewish community with leaflets using religious terminology and Ashkenazi spellings to entice people to read them. Residents in Broughton Park, who have received the leaflets through their doors, are concerned about what they call the “deceptive material”.


Book Week 2009 unveils an illustrious guest-list

By Gerald Jacobs, December 18, 2008

Jewish Book Week 2009 will begin and end with generous helpings of the cream of Israeli literature, in the shape of Amos Oz, who will open the festival on February 21, and AB Yehoshua, who will close it on March 1.

Oz will be interviewed by Guardian and JC columnist Jonathan Freedland; Yehoshua by BBC foreign correspondent Lyse Doucet. In between, JBW’s most lavish feast yet is expected to attract record numbers.

Announcing the programme, JBW director Geraldine D’Amico drew attention to the eclectic nature of the 2009 event.


Sex abuser is to be sentenced

By Marcus Dysch, December 18, 2008

A 32-year-old man may face jail next week after admitting that he had encouraged underage girls to perform sex acts, and that he had made indecent images of a child.

Philip Knorpel, of Woking, will be sentenced at South West Surrey Magistrates’ Court in Guildford on Tuesday.

At a court hearing a fortnight ago, the IT project manager admitted two charges of making indecent photos of a child, and four of inciting a girl to sexual activity.


Swan pub in limbo as doors close

By Marcus Dysch, December 18, 2008

A pub which is due to be converted into a synagogue by a strictly Orthodox community will close next month, although its long-term future remains uncertain.

Representatives of Stamford Hill’s Bobov community have been in discussions to buy The Swan for around £1 million since the summer.

But they have faced obstacles from pub regulars who set up a Save the Swan campaign and arguments with a rival Bobov faction.

The discovery of a restrictive covenant, which prohibits the future use of the building as a pub, has also threatened the deal.