UK news

Minister calms fears over Equality Bill

By Simon Rocker, February 4, 2010

Mike Foster, the Equalities Minister, moved to reassure the Board of Deputies this week after the Pope attacked Britain’s anti-discrimination laws for threatening religious freedom.

Jon Benjamin, the Board’s chief executive, said that the minister had called him to reiterate the government’s belief that the Equality Bill, currently under debate in the Lords, would do no more than consolidate existing legislation.


RE books often fail Judaism

By Simon Rocker, February 4, 2010

Judaism is inadequately portrayed in religious education materials used in general schools, according to a report prepared for the government.

Textbooks contained inaccuracies and ignored the ethics and philosophy of the rabbinic tradition, the research team from Warwick University found.

“A particular issue was the failure of many of the resources to engage with the long tradition of Jewish thought over the last 2000 years,” the report said.

“Instead, the religion all too often comes across as the Old Testament religion that preceded Christianity.”


Christian Aid slammed for anti-Israel youth magazine

By Robyn Rosen, February 4, 2010

Christian Aid has apologised after its UK-based online youth magazine published an article calling Israel an “apartheid state”.

The article, published on the website Ctrl.Alt.Shift and entitled Young Blood: Peres — War Criminal and Proud, attacked Israeli president Shimon Peres as a “war criminal” and called Zionism a “racist ideology”.

Published on Holocaust Memorial Day last week, the article placed images of dead Jews in concentration camps next to images of dead Palestinians.


Actress performs for prison inmates

By Robyn Rosen, February 4, 2010

A musical theatre actress has landed her toughest role yet — performing behind bars with an ensemble of convicts.

Zara Kadir, who grew up in Israel, is part of a group of 15 professionals and 15 convicts taking part in a performance of Carmen at Wandsworth Prison.

Ms Kadir, 23, graduated from the Guildford School of Acting last summer and is performing in the chorus, playing a girl at the cigar factory.


Fake Judaica floods online auction sites

By Marcus Dysch, February 4, 2010

Collectors of Judaica are being warned of a rise in fake items being sold online.

Internet market sites such as eBay advertise hundreds of items including yads, figurines, kiddush cups and havdalah spice boxes.

But buyers have reported incidents of pieces being advertised as 19th century Russian antiques which, when purchased, turn out to be cheap, modern replicas.

Jacob Nightburg, from Stamford Hill, north east London, bought a spice box set on eBay for 120 euros [£105] from a seller based in Germany.

When it was delivered to him, Mr Nightburg became suspicious.


Kalashnikov children groom young killers

By Jonathan Kalmus, February 4, 2010

Children are being encouraged by Jihadi terror supporters to say that they will kill Jews, while handling guns, according to Greater Manchester Police.

The revelation came this week as the North West’s Counter Terrorism Unit released a video of children playing with a Kalashnikov. The video was seized from an undisclosed address in Manchester during a raid on terror suspects. Police say the footage and other downloaded material are being used to “groom” children in the North West with terrorist propaganda from an early age


Legal action from teacher sacked for challenging racism

By Marcus Dysch, February 4, 2010

A teacher who claims he was sacked for challenging his pupils’ racist and antisemitic views is due to have his case heard at an employment tribunal next week.

Nicholas Kafouris, a Christian, said some pupils at the predominantly Muslim Bigland Green Primary School in Tower Hamlets, east London, had made antisemitic remarks and praised Islamic extremists during classes.

Greek-born Mr Kafouris said remarks were regularly made in late 2006 and that pupils as young as nine had glorified the September 11 suicide bombers.


Sinn Fein call for boycott of ambassador to Ireland

By Marcus Dysch, February 4, 2010

Israel’s Ambassador to Ireland, Zion Evrony, thought he was dropping in to the small town of Carrickmacross for a cup of tea and a chat with the mayor.

Instead, he walked into a massive political row in which Sinn Féin councillors even called for a page he signed in the visitors’ book to be removed.

Dr Evrony visited the town in County Monaghan last Friday and was greeted by more than 30 residents protesting alongside councillors and the deputy mayor.

The group blocked his route and demanded that mayor Mary Kerr-Conlon cancel her meeting with him.


Rules of war 'suspended' by the IDF

By Martin Bright, February 4, 2010

The co-founder of the controversial Israeli human rights organisation Breaking the Silence (BTS) has told a London audience that the IDF suspended its rules of engagement during the Gaza conflict in order to protect the lives of Israeli soldiers.

Yehuda Shaul, a 27-year-old former infantryman in the Israeli army, was in London this week to promote the work of BTS.


Portsmouth's Avram Grant caught in brothel

By Jessica Elgot, February 4, 2010

The Premiership manager caught by a tabloid reporter visiting a brothel has been revealed as Portsmouth manager Israeli Avram Grant.

Father-of-two Mr Grant, 54, was pictured leaving a “massage parlour” near Portsmouth’s training ground, on an industrial estate near the village of Horton Heath, where prostitutes allegedly charge £130-an-hour.

Mr Grant, who has been married to Israeli television personality Tzofit for 16 years, admitted to The Sun reporter that he knew the place was a massage parlour, but the paper has been unable to print his identity due to privacy laws.