UK news

Mohel training body may close due to lack of cash

By Simon Rocker, April 15, 2010

The organisation responsible for regulating Orthodox circumcision in the UK is facing closure because of lack of funds.

Representatives of the Initiation Society, which was founded in 1745, have been called to a meeting in London on Sunday to discuss its plight.

Dr Lionel Kopelowitz, who represents the United Synagogue on the society's general committee, said that one of the options would be to wind it up. "All I can say that it is essential to retain the society as there must be a body in the community to train mohelim and regulate their practice," he said.


Welsh protests fail to disrupt Israel envoy's visit

By Marcus Dysch, April 15, 2010

The Israeli ambassador faced an angry reception from protesters on Wednesday as he marked the appointment of Israel's first honorary consul for Wales.

Ron Prosor visited Cardiff to attend a ceremony at the Welsh Assembly, welcoming Philip Kaye to the role.

But the ambassador was later heckled as he arrived to give a lecture at Cardiff University Debating Society.


Ilford South: Election 2010

By Bernard Josephs, April 15, 2010

A bitter face-off between a Labour election candidate defending a majority of over 9,000, and anti-Israel extremists determined to unseat him, has broken out in east London.

Leaflets distributed all over Ilford South described Mike Gapes as a "pro-war, pro-Israel and Islamophobic MP."

Mr Gapes, who was chair of the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Select Committee, hit back at the personal attack by the Muslim Public Affairs Committee (MPAC), describing it as "poisonous."


Bury: Election 2010

By Jonathan Kalmus, April 15, 2010

At least one of Bury South's three main Israel-friendly candidates may have been thought of as a "tentacle" in recent weeks.

But the more critical voting factor for its historically Jewish MPs in a general election is the trend to swing the pendulum of power towards whoever stands for the nationally winning party.

Labour MP Ivan Lewis has held the seat since 1997. His most recent Middle East responsibilities for the Foreign Office and public support of Israel have cemented his reputation with Jewish voters.


Hampstead and Kilburn: Election 2010

By Robyn Rosen, April 15, 2010

In the new constituency of Hampstead and Kilburn both the Conservative and LibDem candidates are claiming vast support from Jewish voters.

Both Lib Dem and Tory candidates claim they are the only ones who can beat Labour in the new constituency, a merger of parts of the old Brent East, Brent South and Hampstead and Highgate constituencies.

Hustings have so far taken place in Belsize Square Synagogue and JHub in West Hampstead, and candidates have visited various local synagogues.


Barking and Dagenham: Election 2010

By Bernard Josephs, April 15, 2010

The electoral battle for Barking reached new levels of ferocity this week as Labour's Margaret Hodge accused British National Party canvassers of using her Jewish origins to turn voters against her.

The MP, defending a majority of 8,883, is facing a far-right campaign to oust her from the socially troubled East London constituency where the BNP has already ridden a wave of popularity to win 12 seats on the local council.


Racist leaflets against Jewish candidates in Liverpool

April 15, 2010

Two racist leaflets have been distributed in Liverpool against Jewish candidates.

The leaflets were distributed in the neighbouring constituencies of Wavertree and Riverside in Liverpool. The sitting MP, Louise Ellman, is standing again in Riverside while Luciana Berger is standing in Wavertree.

The leaflets attack both women for their support of and contacts with Israel. One is headed "Don't vote for Friends of Israel", a reference to Ms Berger as director of Labour Friends of Israel.


Labour candidate accused of "dishonest and dangerous" letter

By Martin Bright, April 15, 2010

A Labour candidate has been accused of running a "dishonest and dangerous" campaign to woo Arab voters in her constituency, by playing up her support for the people of Gaza and misrepresenting her opposition to the war in Iraq.

Karen Buck, Labour's candidate in the newly-formed constituency of Westminster North, sent out a letter in Arabic to residents condemning the "collective punishment" of Palestinians in Gaza and describing the situation as "abhorrent".


Cameron criticised for Europe nationalist links

By Martin Bright, April 15, 2010

Conservative leader David Cameron has come under fire from a senior European politician over his alliance with "exotic" ultra-nationalist parties in the European Parliament.

The Spanish secretary-general of the European People's Party (EPP), Antonio López-Istúriz, has predicted that the European Conservative and Reformists (ERC), the recently-formed Eurosceptic group, could collapse, allowing Tory MEPs to rejoin the mainstream EPP.


Racing driver still winning... aged 75

By Danny Caro, April 15, 2010

He beat the legendary Sir Jackie Stewart - and now veteran driver Philip Barak is gearing up for his 54th year on the circuit.

An unlikely 75 years old, Mr Barak is believed to be the oldest competitive racing driver in the country.

Born in Whitley Bay, Tyne and Wear, Mr Barak can be identified by the star of David he wears on his helmet and began an early love affair with engines.

Wryly, he recalls: "I was not a typical Jewish boy. I used to race motorcycles. My father [who made machines for amusement arcades] was very concerned."