UK news

Chief rabbi backs G20 prayer

By James Martin, April 2, 2009

Chief Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks has joined other faith leaders in expressing hope that the G20 meeting in London this week would be “blessed with wisdom”.

The Chief Rabbi signed a religious leaders’ communiqué addressed to heads of the world’s largest economies, which stated: “Our prayers are with the world’s leaders that they be blessed with the wisdom and courage to begin the journey from recession to recovery, and from the old world of national pride to a new age of global responsibility.”

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Lib Dems are ‘little better than the BNP’

By Marcus Dysch, April 2, 2009

The Liberal Democrats have acted “little better than the BNP” in promoting anti-Israel views to win votes in Muslim areas, according to the Conservative Friends of Israel.

Launching a scathing attack on Lib-Dem election campaigning, James Arbuthnot MP, CFI parliamentary chairman, said the party was “attempting to incite hatred and fear for its own electoral advantage”.

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Shechitah protection

By Simon Rocker, April 2, 2009

The Chief Rabbis of France and the UK met in London on Monday to discuss the protection of shechitah in the wake of proposed changes to European law.

Sir Jonathan Sacks, after his meeting with his French counterpart, Rabbi Gilles Bernheim, said: “Shechitah has long been accepted as a fundamental right for Europe’s Jewish citizens.

“The acceptance of religious practices by minority cultures in society is one of the pillars upon which Europe preserves its liberal and democratic character.”

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Tony Blair urges faiths to make difference

April 2, 2009

Former Prime Minister Tony Blair has spoken passionately about the importance of all faiths uniting to make a difference to global poverty and conflict.

He made his comments at a central London fundraising breakfast in which the Tony Blair Faith Foundation (TBFF) joined with World Jewish Relief for the first time to raise awareness of and funds for both organisations’ vital work in Africa.

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Charity scammers strike fear in elderly

By Marcus Dysch, April 2, 2009

Confidence tricksters are targeting Jewish community members and claiming to be collecting donations for Israeli charities.

One man, wearing a long beard and black hat and using the name “Yuval”, has contacted retired, wealthy pensioners in south London and the Midlands.

He quotes legitimate charities, including UJIA and KKL, and knows personal details about his victims, including their marital status, home addresses and telephone numbers.

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Web racists await possible extradition

By Leon Symons, April 2, 2009

The fate of two racists who were the first people in Britain to be convicted of publishing racially inflammatory material on the internet still hangs in the balance.

Simon Sheppard and Steve Whittle fled to America in the middle of their trial at Leeds Crown Court. They will know within the next three weeks whether or not an asylum court judge will return them to Britain. However, the pair have already said they will appeal if the decision goes against them. That process could involve appeals to two higher American courts and could take months before a final decision is reached.

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Rabbi convicted of molesting daughter

By Leon Symons, April 2, 2009

A strictly Orthodox rabbi is due to be sentenced on Friday after being convicted of molesting his daughter. Some of the attacks took place in the UK.

Brooklyn Federal Court heard that Rabbi Israel Weingarten, a member of the Satmar sect, had started abusing his daughter when she was nine years old and had moved his family from America to Israel, Belgium and Britain in order to avoid detection.

Weingarten was convicted of five counts of travelling outside the country to have sex with a minor and could face at least 20 years in prison.

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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