UK news

Australia's oldest Jew on life at 109

February 24, 2011

Australia's oldest Jew, who lived half her life in England and made hats for the Royal Family, will celebrate her 110th birthday next weekend.

But Mary Rothstein's actual birth date is unconfirmed; she doesn't have a birth certificate because her family escaped Russia for London soon after she was born in 1901.


UK pushes for two states 'by September'

By Simon Rocker, February 24, 2011

The Board of Deputies has asked for a meeting with Foreign Secretary William Hague amid concern that the UK government holds Israel responsible for the deadlock in the Middle East peace process and is


Chelsea's Abramovich loses Berezovsky lawsuit appeal

By Jennifer Lipman, February 23, 2011

London will be the scene for an unprecedented High Court battle between two Jewish oligarchs.

A £2 billion lawsuit against Russian businessman Roman Abramovich will go to trial after the Chelsea owner lost an appeal to quash a claim brought by his former business partner Boris Berezovsky.

The pair, who are among the world’s richest men, worked together following the collapse of the Soviet Union.


Britannia Hotels boss saves Pontin's

By Jennifer Lipman, February 21, 2011

A Jewish businessman has stepped in to save holiday camp company Pontin’s from collapse and secure the jobs of its staff.

The 65-year-old company, which went into administration in November, has been bought by the Britannia Hotel Group, owned by Hale-based property developer Alex Langsam.

Mr Langsam’s decision means that 850 Pontin’s employees will be able to keep their jobs.


Ian McEwan: Engage with Israel even if you disagree

By Jennifer Lipman, February 18, 2011

The British writer Ian McEwan has expressed his belief in the importance of engaging with Israeli politics rather than boycotting the country.

Speaking in Israel ahead of a ceremony at which he will receive this year’s Jerusalem Prize, Israel’s highest honour for foreign writers, Mr McEwan said: “You cannot isolate [literature] but I take it as a bad sign when politics permeates every corner of life”.

According to the Guardian, he added: “I don't feel I endorse every corner of Israel's domestic or foreign policy…but I feel it's right to engage with it."


Unite attack 'belligerent' Norwood over job cuts

By Jennifer Lipman, February 18, 2011

Norwood has defended itself over employment union Unite’s allegations that it is one of the voluntary sector’s “renegade employers”.

Unite accused the charity of not living up to its “caring” label after talks on staff pay cuts and new contracts broke down within minutes.

The disability charity has been heavily hit by local authority budgets cuts and has lost around £4 million in funding.

In November it laid out plans to cut the wages of front-line care staff and make 20 per cent of head office staff redundant, as well as reduce supplier costs.


London date for Rosenthal's Barmitzvah Boy play

By Jennifer Lipman, February 18, 2011

Jack Rosenthal’s play about making the Barmitzvah Boy musical, Smash! is to be shown on a London stage for the first time.

The Bafta-award winning playwright, who died of cancer in 2004, wrote the comedy Smash! after struggling to turn his hit television drama into a musical.

The tale of a Jewish boy’s apprehension about the ceremony made it to the stage in 1978, two years after it appeared on the BBC.


Lawyer's court date over fund theft

By Jonathan Kalmus, February 18, 2011

A top lawyer is to face two charges of theft totalling £95,000.

David Friesner, one of Manchester's most highly regarded barristers, will appear before Leeds Magistrates' Court over £81,500 of missing funds at his former St John Street Chambers in Manchester.

He also faces a separate charge of stealing £13,500 which was paid to him by the Crown Prosecution Service.


Academic faces Israel protest

By Jessica Elgot, February 18, 2011

The Scottish Palestinian Solidarity Campaign has called on Glasgow students to "prevent" a leading law professor from working in Israel.

Glasgow University Professor Adam Tomkins was recently awarded the Hailsham Scholarship by the British Friends of the Hebrew University, for promoting understanding between Israel and the UK. He is a former visiting professor at the Hebrew University.

Professor Tomkins has previously spoken of his desire to "strengthen ties between Glasgow Law School and legal scholars in Israel".


Campus extremism report gives green light to radical speakers

By Marcus Dysch, February 18, 2011

Guidelines on tackling extremism and hate speakers on British university campuses have been published following a year-long investigation.

Universities UK, the umbrella group representing university heads, said it could find “no simple answers or absolute rules” but sets out guidance on dealing with controversial speakers, protests, student societies and serious incidents on campus.

The report gives the green light to universities to continue inviting radical speakers to appear on campus by encouraging institutions to “engage” with them.