UK news

Labour MP praises Hamas

By Jessica Elgot, August 11, 2011

A Labour MP has expressed confidence in the "re-launched" and "moderate" Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and praised Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh for renouncing violence.

Sandra Osborne, MP for Ayr Carrick and Cumnock, was one of the British MPs who met Mr Haniyah during a recent visit to Gaza.


Boycotters threaten Israel prom

By Jessica Elgot, August 11, 2011

The Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra is to be targeted by pro-Palestinian pickets when it performs at the BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall on September 1.

BRICUP, which promotes academic and cultural boycotts of Israel, called for a boycott of the sold-out concert and sent an open letter to Proms director Roger Wright.


David Lewis, face of Eilat tourism mourned

By Simon Rocker, August 11, 2011

David Lewis, the Anglo-Jewish entrepeneur who turned Eilat into an international holiday destination, died at his London home on Tuesday aged 87.

His Isrotel group, which brought five-star luxury to the desert resort with the opening of the King Solomon's Palace in 1984, now owns a dozen hotels and spas across Israel.

Rafi Shalev, director of the Israel Government Tourist Office in London, s


New End theatre to become synagogue

By John Nathan, August 11, 2011

London's most Jewish theatrical venue is set to close - and become a synagogue.

Artistic director and chief executive Brian Daniels, who has been running the New End Theatre for 14 years, has finally decided to give up the battle against the spiralling maintenance costs of a building that was originally a hospital morgue before it was converted into a theatre 37 years ago.


Challenge to Guardian's report on Tottenham riots

By Jonathan Kalmus, August 11, 2011

The Guardian newspaper amended its coverage of the Tottenham riots after a complaint that Chasidic Jews were unfairly singled out for allegedly "jeering at police".

Manchester's Jewish Representative Council were among those complaining that the newspaper had broken its editorial code in unnecessarily identifying people's religious or ethnic background in a description of a mixed crowd of onloo


Community rallies round to help riot repairs

By Jessica Elgot and Jennifer Lipman, August 11, 2011

The Chief Rabbi and community leaders have spoken of their shock after the rioting this week, but praised efforts to help rebuild the cities.

Lord Sacks said: "The riots have been a shocking reminder of how thin the surface of civilisation is, and how quickly, especially in the age of smartphones, individual criminality can become mob violence.


Terror in Tottenham and bedlam in Birmingham

By Jessica Elgot, August 11, 2011

Jewish business owners and residents in London, Manchester and Birmingham have described the "devastation" of the local areas, following this week's violent riots.

Groups of youths smashed shops and homes and looted high streets in cities across the country, beginning in Tottenham on Saturday night.

Following pictures of Charedi youths watching the looting in Tottenham on their way home from


In 209 years only two chief rabbis went to the vote

By Miri Freud-Kandel, August 11, 2011

Chief rabbinate elections have historically been characterised more by autocracy than democracy.


Time for Jew in the pew to ask searching questions

By Rabbi Yitzchak Schochet, August 11, 2011

When the election for president of the United Synagogue was under way, rumours were circulating that the contenders each had his own preferred candidate he would like to see "selected" as the next chief rabbi. The president would de facto become a member of the ambiguous group known as the Chief Rabbinate Trust and could then exert his influence to achieve his aims.


How the other religions manage it

By Simon Rocker, August 11, 2011

The Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth - to give the post its full title - has sometimes been seen as our equivalent to the Archbishop of Canterbury. Just as the archbishop heads the Church of England, the state's official church, so the chief rabbi leads UK's largest Jewish denomination.