UK news

David Cameron: His Jewish roots

March 11, 2010

David Cameron talked warmly of finding his Jewish roots and said he had spoken about them to one of Britain’s leading rabbinical authorities.

Last July, Yaakov Wise of Manchester University’s Centre for Jewish Studies traced Mr Cameron’s family tree to 16th-century Jewish scholar Elijah Levita, author of the Yiddish chivalric verse romance, the Bovo-Bukh.

The Tory leader consulted Dayan Ehrentreu, former head of the London Beth Din, about his roots, a meeting he called “one of the highlights of my year”.

More..

Journalist Paul Martin released from Gaza

By Jessica Elgot, March 11, 2010

A British journalist held in Gaza by Hamas for ‘violating security’ has been released, Hamas has said.

Freelance journalist Paul Martin, 55, who has reported for the BBC and The Times, is expected to be freed without penalty today and expelled from Gaza to Israel.

Mr Martin’s lawyer Sharhabil Zayim said he would be handed over to the British and South African authorities in Israel. The Foreign Office has not confirmed Mr Martin is to be released.

Mr Martin originally travelled to Gaza to testify for a Palestinian man who was accused of collaborating with Israel.

More..

Police investigate MP Harry Cohen's expenses

By Jessica Elgot, March 11, 2010

Labour MP Harry Cohen is under investigation by Scotland Yard for allegedly receiving more than £70,000 in expenses for a second home in Colchester.

Mr Cohen, the MP for Leyton and Wanstead, was strongly criticised by a Commons committee for receiving money for his second home while he rented out the property he had previously claimed was his main home.

The Commons committee recommended that Mr Cohen, who is standing down as an MP at the forthcoming general election, should lose his £65,000 retirement payment.

More..

Ami Ayalon: no arrest in London

By Jessica Elgot, March 10, 2010

The former head of Israel’s secret service, Shin Bet, Ami Ayalon, has returned to Israel after speaking in London, without being arrested.

Israeli lawyers met Mr Ayalon at the airport when he landed in London in case he was arrested but the visit went without a hitch. Pro-Palestinian groups were expected to perhaps seek an arrest warrant for Mr Ayalon under universal jurisdiction.

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

More..

Viva Palestina 'did not give money to Hamas'

By Jessica Elgot, March 9, 2010

Respect MP George Galloway’s Viva Palestina group has been criticised for “misleading” the public after it announced it had raised £1m for Gaza, when the real figure was just £180,000.

The Charity Commission opened an inquiry after concerns were raised over how much Viva Palestina had collected for Gaza. The Commission was concerned the money had been given to Hamas, considered by the US and EU to be a terrorist organisation.

But no evidence has been found that property, vehicles or money had been given to Hamas.

More..

Anne Frank 'most inspiring woman'

By Jessica Elgot, March 9, 2010

Anne Frank has been voted “Most Inspiring Woman” in a survey to mark International Women’s Day.

Despite dying, aged just 15, at Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in 1945, Anne’s diary inspired Daily Mirror readers to place her at the top of the poll, beating Princess Diana, Rosa Parks, Mother Teresa and Marie Curie.

Anne garnered 12 per cent of the vote.

The Diary of Anne Frank, which she wrote in hiding in Amsterdam, has been translated into more than 70 languages.

More..

Gordon Brown honours British Holocaust heroes

By Robyn Rosen, March 8, 2010

Gordon Brown will commemorate more than 20 British heroes of the Holocaust with a new award at a ceremony in Downing Street tomorrow.

The Prime Minister will hold a reception honouring those that risked their lives to help Jews during the Holocaust.

Of those awarded, only two are still alive and will attend the reception: Denis Avey, now 91, who saved an Auschwitz prisoner’s life after temporarily swapping places with an inmate and “British Schindler” Sir Nicholas Winton, who rescued 669 children from Czechoslovakia.

More..

Jewish eldery home used by Tories for study

By Robyn Rosen, March 5, 2010

Former Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith will use Jewish residential home, Nightingale, as a case study in a report on elder care in the UK.

Mr Duncan Smith, who runs the think-tank, the Centre for Social Justice, made the announcement during the launch of the report at the home in Clapham yesterday where a panel of leading care professionals discussed the current and emerging needs of older people in Britain in front an audience of people within the care sector.

More..

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.

More..

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.

More..