UK news

'No Jewish influence on BBC appeal decision'

By Leon Symons, January 29, 2009

Accusations that Israel had influenced the BBC’s decision not to broadcast an appeal for aid to Gaza were strongly denied this week.

The Board of Deputies said that no-one from the community or Israel had spoken to the BBC or had any contact with it about the Disasters Emergency Committee’s appeal, which was broadcast on Monday evening by ITV, Channel 4 and Five.

A Board spokesman said: “Of course humanitarian aid is very important. We were called by a BBC journalist seeking comment on this but we made none. But there is no Jewish, Israeli or Zionist influence here.”


Horror email links IDF to Warsaw Nazis

By Leon Symons, January 29, 2009

Holocaust images displayed in a viral email alongside pictures taken during Israel’s military operation in Gaza have been condemned as grossly offensive.

Forty-two Shoah pictures and an equal number depicting what areclaimed to be equivalent scenes from Gaza have been emailed all over the world.

Eric Moonman, president of the Zionist Federation, said: “These pictures are grossly offensive and I am reporting them to the police as a malicious communication.


Brady Maccabi club closure hits Masorti shul

By Marcus Dysch, January 29, 2009

One of the country’s oldest Jewish youth clubs is set to close next month, leaving community groups and a Masorti synagogue temporarily homeless.

Staff at the Brady Maccabi centre in Edgware, north west London, were told only last week that the building would close on February 27.

Two administrators and two youth development workers may lose their jobs, and events scheduled for March are likely to be cancelled.

Brady Maccabi was set up more than 100 years ago, and moved to its current premises in 1979.


JFS school bus abuser in court

By Marcus Dysch, January 29, 2009

A teenager has admitted threatening to stab a group of Jewish schoolchildren whom he verbally abused as they travelled home from school.

The 16-year-old, unnamed for legal reasons, shouted “Jewish scum” at the JFS pupils during the incident on November 10 last year.

He admitted charges of racially aggravated harassment and common assault at Hendon Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday.

Magistrates heard how the unemployed youngster, who was around 6ft 6in tall, boarded a 183 bus in West Hendon with a gang of friends.


Lavatory assault case is thrown out

By Bernard Josephs, January 29, 2009

A Charedi Torah scribe and trainee rabbi accused of sexually assaulting a 12-year-old boy in a synagogue lavatory was acquitted on Monday when the prosecution at Snaresbrook Crown Court said that they had no evidence against him.

The charges against Moshe Reichman, 24, from Golders Green, who pleaded not guilty, were dismissed by the judge Mr Justice Birts.


Newmark to oversee UK olim

January 29, 2009

Dov Newmark, formerly of Hendon and now living in Modi’in, has been appointed the British project manager for the aliyah organisation Nefesh b’Nefesh, through which he emigrated to Israel last year. Mr Newmark was previously campaigns director of Kisharon in London.


JLC adds two to its council

January 29, 2009

Two new younger members of the Jewish Leadership Council were announced this week. Lawyer James Libson, head of litigation at Mishcon de Reya, and a trustee of the UJIA, and surveyor Steven Lewis, deputy chairman of Jewish Care, will join the JLC next month.


Coroners Bill favours scan over the knife

By Jonathan Kalmus, January 29, 2009

A dramatic fall in the number of invasive post-mortems carried out on Jewish people against their families’ wishes could be on the horizon, according to new legislation proposed in parliament this week.

In London, 80 per cent of around 150 post-mortems carried out annually on Jews still use invasive surgical procedures and remove body parts, in contravention of halachah (Jewish law). Currently, if the coroner orders a post-mortem, civil law will override religious law.


Sounds of survivors go online

By Simon Rocker, January 29, 2009

The British Library has put its complete collection of oral testimonies of Shoah survivors online.

Over 440 hours of interviews with 66 people recorded by the library’s sound archive can now be publicly accessed.

Jewish Survivors of the Holocaust covers refugees who escaped Nazi Germany pre-war, and those who survived in hiding or endured the camps.

Rob Perks, curator of oral history at the archive, said: “These oral testimonies personalise the enormity of the Holocaust in a very direct and human way, emphasising the variety and complexity of individual experience.


Aid minister reveals UK’s Gaza aid package

By Leon Symons, January 23, 2009

Britain has given the first tranche of around £27 million in humanitarian aid to United Nations agencies working to bring relief to the inhabitants of Gaza.

Department for International Aid Minister Mike Foster went to Israel hours after it declared a ceasefire and talked to Israeli ministers, the Palestinian Authority and UN and international aid officials about how to get aid into Gaza as quickly as possible.

Mr Foster told Israeli officials that there needed to be as many as 500 trucks of aid going into the area every day to meet the needs of the Palestinians.