UK news

Government quells fears over boycott

By Leon Symons, April 2, 2009

A special meeting to discuss the guidelines for the labelling of products from the West Bank was held in the Cabinet Office on Tuesday.

It involved representatives of food retailers, producers and suppliers and the British Retail Consortium, alongside civil servants from the Department of Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), the Foreign Office, HM Revenue and Customs and one non-governmental organisation (NGO), Oxfam.

But it seemed that fears of a “back-door” boycott of Israeli goods through the labelling of products from the West Bank may have receded.


Roman Abramovich's holiday plans

By Simon Griver, April 2, 2009

Why is this Russian oligarch different from all other Russian oligarchs?

Because, as the JC can exclusively reveal, Roman Abramovich will spend the entire Passover week in Israel.

The Chelsea owner will fly to Eilat in his personal jet next Wednesday where he is booked into the presidential suite at the Isrotel Royal Beach.

Mr Abramovich is plainly expecting friends. Eytan Loewenstein, spokesman for the Isrotel chain, said: “Mr Abramovich has booked a total of 36 rooms for Passover week including 16 suites.


UK rabbis banned from Gaza over security fears

By Simon Rocker, April 2, 2009

Two prominent British Liberal rabbis have been denied entry to Gaza after the Israeli authorities said it was too dangerous for them to visit.

Rabbi David Goldberg, emeritus rabbi of the Liberal Jewish Synagogue, St John’s Wood, and Rabbi Danny Rich, chief executive of Liberal Judaism, had originally obtained Israeli clearance.

But when they arrived at the Erez crossing point into Gaza on the Sunday before last, Rabbi Goldberg said an Israeli officer told them: “Sorry, you can’t go, we’ve had security information that it would be dangerous.”


The Office goes to Israel

By Jan Shure, April 2, 2009

From Kiryat Shemona to Eilat, actors are ironing their polyester business shirts, scouring eBay for second-hand C&A suits and learning how to knot a necktie properly.

They will be bidding to play the Israeli counterparts of David Brent, Gareth Keenan, Tim Canterbury, Dawn Tinsley, Chris Finch and the rest of the team from the Slough branch of timber merchants Wernham Hogg.

Yes, Israel is to air its own version of The Office, Ricky Gervais’s hit sitcom, after BBC Worldwide licensed the format to the Israeli satellite broadcaster Yes-DBS.


Kabbalist takes on ghost

By Simon Rocker, April 2, 2009

A top kabbalist has been asked to help a United Synagogue rabbi whose home is reportedly being visited by the ghost of a past minister.

Website reports on the haunting referred to an unnamed London rabbi, who the JC now understands to be Rabbi Yitzchok Sufrin, the part-time minister of Enfield and Winchmore Hill Synagogue in Middlesex.

The haunted rabbi initially turned to Rabbi Levy Yitzhak Raskin, a Lubavitch dayan in London, who contacted the Jerusalem office of the Rabbinical Centre of Europe (RCE).


Jacqui Smith allows in Hizbollah man

By Leon Symons, April 2, 2009

The Home Office has refused to act over the presence in the UK of a Hizbollah fighter and leader of a radical Muslim group, despite accepting that his presence was not conducive to the public good.

The president of the Board of Deputies, Henry Grunwald QC, wrote to Home Secretary Jacqui Smith last week about Lebanese-born Dyab Abou Jahjah, who fought for Hizbollah against Israel before moving to Belgium, where he started an organisation called the Arab European League that became involved in riots after the murder of a Moroccan schoolteacher.


Three fined for Bury race attack

By James Martin, March 26, 2009

Three boys have been fined for a racially motivated attack which left a Jewish man injured and his non-Jewish friend requiring 18 stitches.

The boys, all aged 16, who cannot be named for legal reasons, have been sentenced by a judge at Bury Youth Court.


'Kabbalah' sacking claim

By Marcus Dysch, March 26, 2009

A City fund manager sacked a female director who refused to join him at Kabbalah sessions, a tribunal has heard.

Guy Oppenheim, chief executive of Notz Stucki, one of Europe’s largest asset management firms, allegedly bombarded Nadine Nassar with suggestive, late-night text messages and phone calls.

Last week, Central London Employment Tribunal heard how the married 55-year-old encouraged her to take part in the Kabbalah classes.

She was sacked in April 2007 after turning down his alleged advances and dropping out of the sessions.


Anti-Israel bias taken out of UN racism paper

By Leon Symons, March 26, 2009

A new version of the final document produced by the UN’s next major human rights conference in Geneva has left out all criticism of Israel, prompting cautious optimism from the Board of Deputies’ president, Henry Grunwald.

The anti-Israeli language that characterised the final document of the original conference in South Africa, in 2001, has disappeared.

However, almost every reference bar one each to Holocaust commemoration and antisemitism has also been taken out of the new draft.


New research will reveal cancer risk

By James Martin, March 26, 2009

A research project has been launched which could lead to every Ashkenazi adult in the UK being offered a genetic test to determine the risk of developing cancer.