UK news

Forum gains a chief exec

By Leon Symons, June 6, 2008

The London Jewish Forum has poached a senior Board of Deputies administrator to be its first paid official.

Alex Goldberg, currently director of the Board’s community-issues division, has been appointed as the first executive director of the LJF and will take up the post later in the year.

LJF chairman Adrian Cohen said: “This marks a major step in the development of the forum. Alex brings with him enormous relevant experience in areas of community development and social cohesion that will enable us to advance our work in London.”


Pair arrested after £14m raid

By Dana Gloger, June 6, 2008

Two well-known members of the London Jewish community have been arrested in connection with the Metropolitan Police’s first large-scale investigation into the use of safety deposit boxes by criminals.

The JC understands that Leslie Sieff, 60, and Milton Woolf, 52, were arrested after more than 300 officers simultaneously raided Safe Deposit Centres Ltd’s three depots in Hampstead, Edgware, and Mayfair.

Mr Sieff and Mr Woolf are directors of the company.


Board challenge on terror

By Leon Symons, June 6, 2008

Three members of a Jewish human-rights organisation have accused the Board of Deputies of misusing its claim to speak for the Jewish community.

Richard Kuper, newly elected chair of Jews for Justice for Palestinians, and two colleagues, Professor Irene Bruegel and Murray Glickman, have complained about a submission to the Home Office last August by the Board and the Community Security Trust on the Counter Terrorism Bill 2007.


Charedi numbers ‘much higher than Board says’

By Simon Rocker, June 6, 2008

A new report has sparked fresh debate on the size of Britain’s rapidly growing strictly Orthodox population.

The UK Charedi population numbers between 22,800 and 36,400 and has been growing at a rate of four per cent annually since the early 1990s, according to a study published this week by the Board of Deputies’ community policy research group.

But Charedi sources maintain that even the higher figure is an underestimate and that the total is above 40,000.


Father killed on way to buy bagels

By Jonathan Kalmus, June 6, 2008

Klezmer violinist and father-of-three Michael Kahan was stabbed to death on his way to buy bagels in Crumpsall, Manchester, on Sunday morning.

The stabbing took place close to the State Fayre kosher bakery and was captured on the CCTV cameras of Heaton Park synagogue, which overlooks the murder scene.


Fury at a fundraiser for 'racist radio'

By Dana Gloger, June 6, 2008

A charity event in South London next month to raise money for a Polish radio station widely regarded as antisemitic has sparked anger.

Staunchly religious Radio Maryja, which describes itself as a “Catholic voice in your home”, is Poland’s most popular radio station, attracting around a million listeners daily.

It was set up in 1991 by Father Tadeusz Rydzyk, 63, a priest often accused of being antisemitic. In 2005, he urged listeners to vote for the right-wing Law and Justice party.


Israeli quits Oxford ‘over verbal abuse’

By Shelly Paz, June 6, 2008

An Israeli postgraduate student who won a research place at Oxford University has turned down a second year’s scholarship because of what he said were antisemitic and anti-Israeli attitudes he had faced on campus.

The student left Britain and abandoned his Oxford research, complaining of harassment due to his Israeli nationality and the fact that he had served in the army.

The JC has spoken to the postgraduate, a student in one of Israel’s leading universities, who would not give any details which could reveal his identity and possibly hurt his fledgling academic career.


Jerusalem Day? I’ve never heard of it

By Shelly Paz, June 6, 2008

Orthodox jews took to the streets of the Israeli capital on Monday to celebrate Jerusalem Day.

It has become a key event in the Israeli calendar and marks the moment that the city was reunited after the Six-Day War.

But it was one that past laregely without comment in London as few in the community had ever heard of it.

“The fact that I didn't know about it maybe means it should be a lot better publicised than it is, said Candice Joseph, 22, a research worker at the Institute of Psychiatry. "But now that I have been told what is it all about, it means a lot.”


Academic union could face legal action on ‘backdoor boycott’

By Leon Symons, June 6, 2008

The University and College Union will almost certainly face legal action if its executive decides to turn into policy the “back-door boycott” motion on Israel passed at its congress last week.

Senior lawyer Anthony Julius, acting on behalf of what he called a “growing number” of Jewish and non-Jewish UCU members, has written to UCU general secretary Sally Hunt setting out four areas where he said the union could be challenged legally. He argued that:

1) The motion, despite the union’s denials, is a boycott motion;

2) It is antisemitic;


Refugees to get a new voice

By Leon Symons, June 6, 2008

Jewish refugees who fled Arab countries in fear for their lives will be given a new voice at a forthcoming conference in London.

Justice for Jews from Arab Countries (JJAC) has until now been a loose part of the American-based Centre for
Middle East Peace.

That will change at a three-day founding congress in London that will see JJAC create its own elected leadership and infrastructure.