UK news

Ehud Olmert to attend Man Utd game

By Jessica Elgot, March 5, 2010

Israel’s former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who is currently fighting corruption charges, is due to visit Britain next week to watch a Manchester United match.

Mr Olmert, a keen United fan, will watch his team play AC Milan in the second leg of the first knock out in the Champions League tie.

Mr Olmert is currently facing trial at Jerusalem District Court, charged over three separate cases of corruption.

He was forced to resign last year over allegation of fraud, breach of trust, falsifying records, tax evasions and fraudulently obtaining benefits.


Ami Ayalon to visit UK, despite arrest threat

March 5, 2010

The former head of Israel’s secret service, Shin Bet, Ami Ayalon, has expressed his determination to take part in a debate next week at the London School of Economics.

Mr Ayalon, formerly a government minister and ex-head of the Israeli navy, is due to speak at LSE on Monday evening as part of a public discussion entitled “The Goldstone Report and the Peace Process”.

He is due to speak alongside Christine Chinkin and Desmond Travers, who were on the panel of the UN Goldstone Report, headed by Judge Richard Goldstone, which found both Israel and Hamas guilty of war crimes.


Straw: No arrest law change until after election

By Jessica Elgot, March 5, 2010

The Justice Secretary Jack Straw has postponed immediate legislation to stop Israeli ministers being threatened with “politically motivated” arrest warrants when they visit Britain, until after the general election.

The justice secretary’s remarks contravene the promise made by Prime Minister Gordon Brown yesterday.

Mr Brown proposed that the Crown Prosecution Service should take the responsibility for prosecuting for war crimes, after reading a leader comment in the JC showing him the strength of feeling over the issue within the Jewish community.


Brick Lane 'hijab gates' scrapped

By Robyn Rosen, March 5, 2010

Plans to install giant “headscarf” arches in Brick Lane, the heart of the old East End Jewish community, have been scrapped just hours before councillors were due to make a decision.

The arches, labelled “hijab gates”, attracted wide criticism from local Jews as well as Muslims, heritage organisations and artist, Tracey Emin, who lives near Brick Lane.

They were part of a £1.85million “culture trail” proposed by Tower Hamlets council to “reflect the many cultural backgrounds that have occupied and sought refuge” in and around Brick Lane.


Jeremiah Duggan 'last hope' for new inquest

By Robyn Rosen, March 4, 2010

An application for a new inquest into the death of Jewish student Jeremiah Duggan has been filed, in what his mother called her "last hope" to uncover the truth.

Mr Duggan, 22, was found dead on a highway near Wiesbaden, Germany in March 2003, after he had attended a youth event organised by the far-right LaRouche group.

The German police ruled his death a suicide, but a British coroner rejected the verdict in November 2003 after the Metropolitan Police testified that the LaRouche movement is a "political cult with sinister and dangerous


Labour MP Diane Abbott vows to save Yemeni Jews

By Marcus Dysch, March 4, 2010

A Labour MP has accused the government of putting the lives of Yemeni Jews at risk by not doing enough to save them from al-Qaeda and other Islamic extremists.

A year ago, London's strictly Orthodox community worked with Immigration Minister Phil Woolas in the hope that 120 Yemenis could move to Stamford Hill, north London.

The Home Office was expected to agree to allow them to settle in Britain, but the move never happened. Now Diane Abbott, Labour MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington, has stepped in and demanded that they reconsider.


Chief Rabbi wins New York prize

By Robyn Rosen, March 4, 2010

The Chief Rabbi, Lord Sacks, is to be the first recipient of the Lamm Prize, a new award set up by Yeshiva University in New York.

The prize pays homage to the university's chancellor, Dr Norman Lamm, and his lifetime of scholarly achievement.


Labour writer warns UK Left about Hamas

By Martin Bright, March 4, 2010

One of the Labour Party's key intellectuals has warned the Left not to make the mistake of considering Hamas a traditional resistance movement.

Writing in a series of essays, Handling Hamas, published by Labour Friends of Israel, Professor Brian Brivati of Kingston University says: "All too often Hamas is compared, by elements of the British Left in particular, to the IRA, the South African ANC or even the Palestinian Fatah movement and, inevitably, from these comparisons comes a call for diplomatic engagement."


Lib Dems under fire over Gaza leaflets

By Marcus Dysch, March 4, 2010

Parliamentary candidates across the country have clashed over pre-election attacks on Israel.

Labour's Oldham East and Saddleworth MP Phil Woolas has written to Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg, questioning his party's views on arms sales to the Jewish state.

Mr Woolas acted after the Lib Dem candidate in the constituency, Elwyn Watkins, wrote to Muslim supporters condemning Israel's "disproportionate use of force" during last year's Gaza conflict and calling for an end to arms sales to Israel.


Why Chagall painted Jesus and the cross

March 4, 2010

Drawings for Marc Chagall's stained-glass windows at All Saints' Church, Tudeley, in Kent, will be shown in the UK for the first time this week as part of the Mascalls Gallery exhibition, Cross Purposes.

The exhibition examines the representation of the crucifixion in 20th-century art and will be at the Ben Uri Gallery in London from June 19 to September 15.

Chagall was commissioned to design the windows - All Saints is the only church in the world to have all its windows decorated by him - by the late Sir Henry d'Avigdor-Goldsmid.