UK news

I quit job, sold home, then Israel barred me

By Marcus Dysch, June 11, 2009

A non-Jewish man and his Jewish-born wife say they are “living in complete limbo” after their Israeli citizenship application was rejected by the Jewish Agency.

Kevin and Andrea Ayres sold their home in Devon and quit their jobs 18 months ago in the hope of making aliyah to northern Israel.

Their application was made because Mrs Ayres had a Jewish grandmother.
Last month the couple, now living in temporary accommodation, began legal proceedings at the Israeli High Court in an attempt to force the Interior Ministry, which is responsible for citizenship, to grant them nationality.

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Boycotter threats fail to sway festival

By Stephanie Brickman and Marcus Dysch, June 11, 2009

Pro-Palestinian campaigners are expected to disrupt a Scottish town’s summer festival over sponsorship from a French sewage company with business interests in Israel.

This weekend’s Leith Festival, held on the outskirts of Edinburgh, has been funded using a £3,000 grant from Veolia, which runs a water treatment plant in the town.

Organisers have refused to return the money despite being urged to do so by Scottish Palestine Solidarity (SPSC).

SPSC has encouraged supporters to leaflet the event and deliver a “presentation on Israel’s criminal occupation”.

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Spain honours men who fought fascists

By Simon Rocker, June 11, 2009

Three men in their nineties were among the last British veterans of the Spanish civil war honoured by the Spanish Embassy in London on Tuesday.
Sam Lesser, Lou Kenton and Joseph Kahn were part of a group of seven UK and Irish volunteers of the International Brigade awarded Spanish citizenship 70 years after the end of the conflict.

“It was exciting, enjoyable and a huge honour to have my Spanish passport bestowed on me,” said Mr Kahn, 93, of Maida Vale, north west London.

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Kosher butchers reject ‘meat injection’ claims

By Leon Symons, June 11, 2009

Butchers’ have refuted a claim that non-kosher substances are being injected into kosher chicken.

Licensed Kosher Meat Traders’ Association chairman Jacky Lipowicz hit out at the Independent newspaper which published a full-page feature on the issue last week.

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Moshe’s Mafia leaders get nine years for £36m cannabis plot

By Marcus Dysch, June 11, 2009

The Israeli masterminds of one of the biggest smuggling operations ever intercepted by British police have been jailed.

Moshe Kedar, aged 81, and Yehezkel Srebro, 57, were both sentenced to nine years’ imprisonment.

Their accomplice, Mordechai Hersh, 67, received an eight-year term.
They will be deported from Britain after completing their sentences, handed down at Winchester Crown Court on Thursday last week.

Earlier the men were convicted of planning an elaborate operation to bring more than 12 tonnes of cannabis, worth £36 million, into the country using a tugboat.

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You’re hired: as the new Sugar

By Candice Krieger, June 11, 2009

Apprentice star Sir Alan Sugar will step down from the day-to-day running of his businesses following his appointment as the government’s enterprise czar.

Sir Alan was appointed as a business adviser by Prime Minister Gordon Brown last week. He will also be made a peer, but at the time of writing it was not known what will his full title be.

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New looted art law effective ‘in autumn’

By Leon Symons, June 11, 2009

A new law to enable British museums and galleries to return looted art to its rightful owners rather than pay compensation should be law by the autumn..

The Holocaust Restitution Bill’s passage onto the statute books will clear the path for as many as 20 claims for the return of artworks in British collections by the end of the year.

The Bill passed the committee stage in the House of Commons on Wednesday with only minor amendments.

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Simcha on the Square is cancelled

By Simon Rocker, June 11, 2009

Simcha on the Square, the annual celebration of Jewish culture in Trafalgar Square, has been cancelled this year because organisers have been unable to secure enough funding from the Greater London Authority.
Instead, the GLA will be sponsoring a beefed-up Klezmer in the Park to take place in Regent’s Park on September 6.

The GLA had underwritten almost half the £100,000 cost of last year’s Simcha, the third since its inauguration.

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Manchester Beth Din may hear JNF row

By Leon Symons, June 11, 2009

he dispute between leading Israel charity JNF and philanthropist Cyril Stein will not be settled by the London Beth Din.
Instead, the charity has said it wanted the argument — over why it has withheld funds raised at a dinner organised by Mr Stein and destined for an Israeli organisation — to be heard by the Manchester Beth Din.
JNF chair Samuel Hayek said this week: “We were asked to submit to the jurisdiction of a beth din. According to the halachic advice that we have been given, if we were invited to a beth din it was our right to determine which one we would want to go to.

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Race charges denied by civil servant

By Leon Symons, June 11, 2009

A senior Foreign Office civil servant has appeared in court and pleaded not guilty to a charge of racially aggravated harassment.

Rowan Laxton, 48, appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday. He was charged with using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour or disorderly behaviour within the hearing or sight of a person likely to be caused harassment, alarm or distress.

Mr Laxton remains suspended from his post as head of the Foreign Office’s South Asia desk. He is due to appear in court again in September 9 for an abuse of process hearing.

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