UK news

Synagogues at risk, say English heritage

By Robyn Rosen, July 1, 2010

They're damp, crumbling and increasingly abandoned - that's the sad picture of our shuls that has emerged from the first Synagogues At Risk Survey, carried out by Jewish Heritage on behalf of English Heritage.

The survey, part of the first accurate inquiry into the state of Britain's 14,500 listed places of worship, looked at 37 synagogues in England and found that only three were in "good" condition.

English Heritage has awarded Jewish Heritage a grant worth £91,000 over three years to monitor synagogues and raise awareness.


Manchester jewel theft

July 1, 2010

Thieves this week stole jewellery from a gold Volvo in King's Road, Prestwich, after they smashed its windows to get in.

Witnesses say they saw two men grab a rucksack from the car. They then drove off in a Ford Focus, driven by a third man.

A police spokeswoman said: "One of the men is said to be of stocky build, above 6ft tall with a dark-coloured hooded top. The second offender was smaller with brown hair."


Manchester synagogue urged to sell to pay burial debt

By Robyn Rosen, July 1, 2010

A Manchester synagogue which owes £10,000 to a burial board has been urged to sell its building.

Higher Crumpsall and Higher Broughton Hebrew Congregation in north Manchester has been unable to maintain payments to the Rainsough Joint Hebrew Burial Board and has not kept burial fees paid by members in a separate account.

The synagogue, built in 1928, is supposed to pay one third of the £30,000 annual running costs of the board, which deals with the maintenance of Rainsough Cemetery in Prestwich, and now owes it more than £10,000.


Government pledge to tackle campus extremists

By Marcus Dysch, July 1, 2010

The government has pledged to reassess its Prevent counter-terrorism strategy to investigate whether it has done enough to challenge extremists.

Universities Minister David Willetts admitted there might still be cases where extreme speakers have fostered hatred or violence.

Millions of pounds have already been spent on the project in an attempt to prevent Muslim radicalisation.


Abu Hamza's son jailed for riot

By Marcus Dysch, July 1, 2010

The son of hate preacher Abu Hamza has been jailed for his role in rioting outside the Israeli Embassy in London.

Yasser Kamel, 20, wielded a stolen police riot shield and threw sticks at officers while demonstrating against Israel’s Cast Lead operation in Gaza last year.

He was sentenced to 12 months in youth detention after admitting one count of violent disorder at Isleworth Crown Court on Wednesday.

Kamel, of Shepherd’s Bush, west London, had arrived at the protest at around 4.45pm on January 10, 2009, and was caught on camera confronting officers with the riot shield.


Fury as Methodists vote to boycott Israel

By Marcus Dysch and Simon Rocker, July 1, 2010

The Board of Deputies and the Jewish Leadership Council said the Methodists’ annual conference should “hang its head in shame” for passing a policy which calls for a boycott of goods from “illegal” Israeli West Bank settlements and blames Israeli occupation as the “key hindrance” to Middle East peace.

Lord Sacks said the implications of the decision would “reverberate across the hitherto harmonious relationship between the faith communities in the UK”.


Ambassador criticises judge in arms factory case

By Jessica Elgot, July 1, 2010

Israel's ambassador to Britain, Ron Prosor, has strongly criticised Judge George Bathurst-Norman over the direction he gave to a jury who acquitted five pro-Palestinian activists who broke into an arms factory in Brighton and caused £180,000 worth of damage. The five said they were seeking to prevent war crimes in Gaza.

The activists, Robert Nicholls, 52, Tom Woodhead, 25, Harvey Tadman, 44, Ornella Saibene, 50, all from Bristol, and Simon Levin, 35, from Brighton, argued that they were legally justified breaking into the factory, owned by EDO MBM.


Government rebuffs Islamic group

By Simon Rocker, June 29, 2010

The Department of Education has rejected objections from an Islamic campaign group to the teaching of Zionism in state-aided Jewish schools.

Ghulam Abbas, of the department’s community cohesion unit, replied to the group, Engage: “We have no evidence to suggest the schools you highlight in your letter are teaching inappropriately or indoctrinating pupils.”


Global trade union rebuffs Israel boycott

By Jennifer Lipman, June 28, 2010

An organisation representing trade unions in more than 150 countries and 176 million workers worldwide has rejected calls to boycott Israel and pledged its “universal recognition” of the country’s right to exist.

At its world congress in Vancouver, the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) stated its rejection of “the extremist policies of Hamas”.


Jason Isaacs film wins festival award

By Jennifer Lipman, June 28, 2010

A black comedy starring Jewish actor Jason Isaacs has won a top prize at the Edinburgh International Film Festival.

Skeletons, a film about two exorcists whose work starts to hit a little close to home, received the Michael Powell award for best new British feature film.

The jury said the film, released on July 2, won because of its "original vision and dark humour".

Mr Isaacs, perhaps best known for playing the evil Lucius Malfoy in the Harry Potter films, stars with Ed Gaughan and Andrew Buckley in the film.