UK news

Scourge of apartheid, Helen Suzman, dies at 91

By Ruth Rothenberg, January 8, 2009

The white scourge of apartheid, Helen Suzman, whose death at the age of 91 was announced this week, was credited with shortening its lifespan through her courageous and often lonely campaign to publicise its outrages and befriend its victims.

She came to her political views as an adult after growing up in Johannesburg, with black service taken for granted. Her mother died when she was born. Her Lithuanian-born father, Sam Gavronsky, who ran a meat and cattle business, remarried when she was nine.


Lib Dems split over conflict

By Simon Rocker, January 8, 2009

The Liberal Democrat Friends of Israel are trying to broker a meeting between the Israeli Ambassador Ron Prosor and the party’s leader, Nick Clegg, who has been outspoken in his criticism of Israel’s actions in Gaza.

In an article in Wednesday’s Guardian, Mr Clegg called on Prime Minister Gordon Brown to condemn Israeli tactics and suspend arm sales and demanded that the European Union suspend a proposed new trade agreement with Israel.


Bid to firebomb synagogue as protests grow

By Craig Silver, January 8, 2009

An attempt was made to firebomb a London synagogue at the weekend in a protest against Israel’s actions in Gaza.

The attack, just before midnight on Sunday, at Brondesbury Synagogue in Willesden, North-West London, was the most serious of 25 antisemitic incidents that have occurred since Israel launched its operation on December 27.


We need to be scared, says IDF colonel

By Anshel Pfeffer, January 7, 2009

An IDF colonel has described how he hopes his troops feel fear as they continue to push into Gaza.

“Fear is healthy” Lt-Colonel Amir Ulo said this evening. “It is part of a warrior’s basic skills that helps him prepare, not fear that paralyses.”

Lt-Col Ulo is commander of the Combat Engineer Corps special operations unit Yahalom and his soldiers have been leading the IDF’s combat groups as they take up positions around Gaza.


Drivers quizzed in hunt for girl

December 31, 2008

Motorists were questioned by police in North West London this morning during a search for a missing child.

Officers were called to Rotherwick Road, Golders Green, following reports that a three-year-old girl had disappeared from her family home.

They searched the surrounding area and stopped traffic to ask whether members of the public had seen the toddler.

The unnamed girl was later found safe and uninjured at the property.


Limmud: ex-defence chief assesses Gaza

By Simon Rocker, December 31, 2008

The idea that armies should use proportionate force was dismissed by a former director of military intelligence for the Israel Defence Forces at a special session on Gaza at the Limmud conference.

General Yaacov Amidror said: “The advantage Israel has, is only because it can react disproportionately.”

From a military perspective, he added: “The only way to deal with such a situation is to react without taking into consideration proportionality… otherwise you will lose before you begin.”


How community fared in honours list

By Marcus Dysch, December 31, 2008

Charity volunteers, entrepreneurs and Holocaust survivors are among the Jewish recipients of New Year’s Honours announced today.

Jenny Abramsky, former director of BBC audio and music, is created a dame for services to broadcasting. Currently chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund and National Heritage Memorial Fund, she said: “I'm thrilled because I believe this honour recognises the importance of radio in this country.”

She was made a CBE in 2001. Her father, Chimen, was a renowned professor of Jewish studies, and her mother, Miriam, a leading social worker.


Protestors target embassy

By Anshel Pfeffer, December 31, 2008

The Israeli Embassy was repeatedly targeted this week by demonstrators, who accused Israel of carrying out a “Holocaust in Gaza”.


Skverer Chasid set to face extradition in fraud case

By Leon Symons, December 31, 2008

A member of the US-based Skverer strictly Orthodox community, on the run for 11 years to avoid multi-million dollar fraud charges, will know later this month if he is to be extradited to stand trial.

Avrum David Friesel, 56, was arrested at the end of April in Chardmore Road, Stamford Hill, London, by British police helped by United States marshals. He has been awaiting a decision on his extradition since then.


Pinter, a friend who became Israel’s critic

By Bernard Josephs, December 31, 2008

The Nobel Prize winning playwright Harold Pinter, whose death at 78 was announced on December 24, was recalled this week as an early friend and supporter of Israel, despite latterly being known as one of the country’s strongest Jewish critics.

The Hackney-born playwright was a founder member of Jews for Justice for Palestinians and backed the boycotting of Israeli produce. He was also a sharp critic of George Bush and Tony Blair, branding the Iraq war as a “bandit act” and a war crime.