UK news

Thousands sign Shalit petition

By Jennifer Lipman, July 23, 2010

A petition condemning the continued captivity of Gilad Shalit and calling for government action to secure his return has attracted nearly 6000 signatures.

Conservative MP Lee Scott will take the petition, organised by youth movement FZY, to the House of Commons on Thursday.


Finkelstein: no 'war of words' with Berkoff

By Jennifer Lipman, July 22, 2010

A dispute involving two high-profile Jewish writers has been cleared up by The Times writer Daniel Finkelstein, who has offered his surrender.

Actor Steven Berkoff had criticised The Times executive editor for comments he complained would make sense only to someone who “came from another planet.”

Mr Finkelstein said he was sorry his column, in which he described many Jewish laws as “inconvenient and hard to explain to outsiders”, had caused upset.


Methodists: Zionism is legitimate

By Simon Rocker, July 22, 2010

The head of the Methodist Church has held out an olive branch to the Jewish community after its controversial vote on Israel, saying it does not seek to rule Zionism as illegitimate.

The Reverend Alison Tomlin was replying to a sharply-worded letter from Vivian Wineman, president of the Board of the Deputies, who condemned the Church's recently passed policy as "unqualified Israel bashing".


Gove: free schools 'can still be totally Jewish'

By Jessica Elgot, July 22, 2010

Jewish parents hoping to set up new schools under the coalition government's flagship education proposals may have to take pupils of different faiths - at the expense of Jewish pupils.

Empowering parents to set up free schools was a key pledge in the Conservative election campaign, but those schools must take 50 per cent of pupils without reference to religion.

The 50 per cent ceiling on faith admissions for new academies was introduced under Labour, but the Coalition government has decided not to lift it, so it will apply to new free schools as well.


Analysis: How propaganda swayed my friend

By Jonathan Goldberg, July 22, 2010

I have known George Bathurst-Norman most of my professional career, at Bar and Bench. It pains me to read what a judicial ass he has made of himself. George is usually a safe pair of hands, and the last judge of whom one expected this.

In his case it is perfectly true to say that "some of his best friends are Jewish". Aloof and patrician in manner, he is a mildly eccentric but liberal judge who has no prejudice normally.


Full text of anti-Israel activist acquittal revealed

By Marcus Dysch and Jessica Elgot, July 22, 2010

The full transcript has been revealed for the first time of a judge's summing-up in the trial of seven anti-Israel activists acquitted of damaging an arms factory in January 2009.

Judge George Bathurst-Norman had told the jury at Lewes Crown Court that the group's leader should be awarded the George Cross for his campaign.


Jewish scholar's library under threat

By Jessica Elgot, July 22, 2010

The Jewish-founded research library, the Warburg Institute, says it is under threat from the University of London - which signed a trust deed in 1944 agreeing to protect the institute.

The Warburg contains more than 350,000 books, including extremely rare volumes and a photography collection.

It now fears it may lose its independence after the university raised its rent by £500,000 - more than quadruple the fee in 2007. Staff believe that the university wishes to absorb the collection into its own main library.


Jewish WW1 soldiers reburied

By Marcus Dysch, July 22, 2010

Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall were joined in France this week by 12 veterans from the Association of Jewish Ex-Servicemen and Women, as the Prince dedicated the first new Commonwealth War Graves cemetery for 50 years.

Two thousand people gathered at Fromelles, near Lille, for the reburial of 250 British and Australian soldiers on the 94th anniversary of the battle in which they were killed.


Jewish charities warn of cuts as donations fall

By Jessica Elgot, July 22, 2010

Jewish charities have been hit by a huge drop in donations this year and may have to make further cuts as local authorities, which use their services, tighten their belts.

Norwood, whose services for children and families in need are mostly purchased by local authorities, has been warned by councils that it must significantly reduce its fees or the councils will not continue to buy its services.


Pledge to fight EU shechita ban

By Robyn Rosen, July 22, 2010

The president of Shechita UK has urged the community to lobby MPs to prevent new EU regulations requiring kosher meat to be labelled "meat from slaughter without stunning".

Last month the European Parliament voted in favour of the amendment to the provision of food information to consumers, just two weeks after New Zealand banned kosher slaughter.

Henry Grunwald QC urged the Board of Deputies on Sunday to contact their MPs before the bill comes back for discussion in September.