UK news

'Gay Girl in Damascus' blogger accused of second hoax

By Jennifer Lipman, June 27, 2011

A married male blogger who posed as a lesbian writing from Damascus in order to criticise Israel is alleged to have used a second false account to defend his behaviour.

Tom MacMaster made headlines around the world with his site "A Gay Girl in Damascus", which included comments about shooting Jews and Christians and used rumours "to inflame views of Israel".


Glenda Jackson will not fight 2015 election

By Jennifer Lipman, June 24, 2011

Glenda Jackson has announced that she is to retire from politics before the next election.

The MP for Hampstead and Kilburn, who was re-elected in May 2010 with just 42 votes, said she would be too old to stand again in 2015.

She told the Hampstead and Highgate Express: "I will not be putting myself forward for re-election in 2015. I will be nearly 80."


Calls for Hamas to free Shalit after five years

By Jennifer Lipman, June 24, 2011

Human rights groups and Jewish organisations have reiterated calls for Hamas to release an Israeli soldier kidnapped five years ago.


Historic Haggadah discovered

By Marcus Dysch, June 24, 2011

A rare Haggadah published for a 19th century Jewish Indian community has been discovered in Manchester.

The 137-year-old leather-bound book is thought to be the only one of its kind in Britain. It was bought by historian Yaakov Wise at a garage sale in Salford. He is now researching its history.


Flotilla veteran to return

By Jonathan Kalmus, June 24, 2011

A Gaza flotilla activist and former senior manager at Oldham Council has said she will make a humanitarian trip to Gaza even if this month's sea-bound mission is cancelled.

Paveen Yaqub from Manchester is determined to repeat the trip she made last year.

A second voyage for the Mavi Marmara has already been halted after the Turkish Islamic charity IHH pulled out last Friday.


Man found guilty of Stamford Hill pensioner killing

By Robyn Rosen, June 23, 2011

A Polish decorator has been found guilty of manslaughter after he left an elderly Stamford Hill woman gagged and bound to a chair while he raided her home.

Eveline Kelmenson, 83, died a "slow death" of hypothermia and lay undiscovered for five weeks before she was found by relatives on New Year's Day 2009, her decomposed body still bound to a chair in her bedroom.


Jewish skeletons unearthed in medieval well

By Robyn Rosen, June 23, 2011

The remains of 17 Jewish people found at the bottom of a medieval well could have been murdered or forced to kill themselves, scientists have suggested.

The skeletons were put into storage after they were discovered in 2004 during an excavation of a site in the centre of Norwich and have only recently been the subject of investigation.


Guard's attacker is jailed

June 23, 2011

A drunk who called a supermarket security guard a "Jewish c---" before knocking off his kippah has been jailed for 12 months.

Shoplifter Richard Brundritt, 34, attacked James Abrahams when he tried to remove him from a Wilkinson's store in Watford.

Prosecutor Jonathan Dunne told St Albans Crown Court that Brundritt was confronted after staff saw him hide an air freshener.

He said: "He was


Interfaith aid for medics

By Jessica Elgot, June 23, 2011

Cambridge University is sponsoring a programme for Jewish, Christian and Muslim trainee doctors and nurses at five Israeli hospitals to teach them the Koran, the New Testament and the Torah.

The Cambridge Interfaith programme, part of the university's divinity faculty, is supporting the new workshops, run by the Middle Eastern branch of the British-based Three Faiths Forum.


Campaign for ethical meat label

By Jessica Elgot, June 23, 2011

A new campaign has been launched to introduce ethical certification for kosher meat.

The Chief Rabbi's environmental adviser, Rabbi Natan Levy, and Spencer Shaw, manager of events website Jewpro, have started a petition in order to mobilise wider communal support for the idea.

Rabbi Levy said: "Time and again, I have received an email or phone call from a frustrated Jewish consumer who is se