UK news

Rabbis' letter shows agony over conflict

By Simon Rocker, January 15, 2009

A newspaper letter signed by leaders of the UK’s two Progressive movements and the leading Jewish interfaith activist, revealed growing unease within the community over Israel’s military campaign.

Published in the Observer, it voiced concern that Israel’s actions could “strengthen extremists” while civilian casualties threatened to “undermine international support for Israel”.


Students resolve to fight campus antisemitism

January 15, 2009

The National Executive of the National Union of Students has passed a complex resolution on the Gaza conflict which has been warmly welcomed by the leadership of the Union of Jewish Students.

As students all over Britain began the new winter term with the fighting in Gaza still heading the news, the NUS was well aware that its membership covers both sides of the divide.

The NUS President, Wes Streeting, made it clear that “we shouldn’t pretend that NUS can speak with one voice on the complexities of this conflict.”


SOAS Palestinians fail to ban Israel lectures

By Jonny Paul, January 15, 2009

The University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies has refused to cancel a series of lectures marking the centenary of Tel Aviv.

A Palestinian pressure group demanded that the series, organised by the Centre for Jewish Studies, did not go ahead, claiming it was “morally repulsive” to be celebrating Tel Aviv “while Gaza burns”.

The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) called on the university to cancel the “ill-conceived propaganda exercise.”


Pensioner dies after crash

January 15, 2009

A pedestrian has died after an accident with a car on Thursday.

Anthony Levy, 78, from Hendon, was involved in a collision with a VW people carrier in Golders Green Road, North West London. Mr Levy was taken to Royal Free Hospital in Hampstead suffering from a head injury but died in the early hours of Friday morning. An inquest at Hornsey Coroners’ Court was opened and adjourned.

Sgt Chris Osborne of the police Collision Investigation Unit has appealed for any witnesses to call either 020 8998 5319 or Crime Stoppers on 0800 555 111.


Charity’s founder is honoured by Queen

January 15, 2009

A 94-year-old London woman has been awarded a CBE for her services to charity.

Sue Hammerson was originally created an OBE in 1981 for her charitable work. She is the founder of the old-age home, Hammerson House, in Bishop’s Avenue, Hampstead, which opened in July 1962. It was named in memory of her late husband, Lewis. Mr Hammerson died in 1958 aged 42.


Masked gang attack father with hammer

By Jonathan Kalmus, January 15, 2009

A young father was beaten with a hammer in front of his heavily pregnant wife in an armed robbery on their home.

Their children, aged two, three and six, slept while three masked men smashed through the family’s front door at around 7.30pm.

Running upstairs, they demanded rent money, appearing to know that the victim collected rent for his property business.

“They repeated ‘where’s the money?’, again and again,” said the 27-year-old, who did not want to be named for fear of reprisals.


Games off as players join rally

By Craig Silver, January 15, 2009

Most Jewish football games were postponed so players could attend the rallies in London and Manchester.

Only nine matches were played in the MSFL, MJSL and Masters Leagues following an agreement between the league and teams. But there was no blanket postponement of fixtures.


Wedding-ban couple say I do in safety

By Leon Symons, January 15, 2009

A familiar side-effect of the Gaza conflict has been its disruption of daily life — including celebrations.

In Israel, Sharon and Gilad Yaacobi, members of Kibbutz Gevim, just south of Sderot, were due to be married in a banqueting hall close to their home. But the party, last Thursday night, was banned by the army.

Instead, the general manager of Tel Aviv’s Hilton hotel, Ronnie Fortis, helped the couple relocate their wedding ceremony and party at his hotel, free of charge.


Offensive billboards removed

By Simon Rocker, January 15, 2009

Billboards advertising a nasal spray to help with impotence which were removed from Edgware after protests that they were offensive are being taken down in the rest of the country.

Orthodox Jewish councillor Brian Gordon was among objectors to the posters headlined “Want Longer Lasting Sex?”

The Advertising Standards Authority is considering more than a hundred complaints about the adverts.

But the Australia-based Advanced Medical Institute said it had ordered billboards for its product to be taken down before the ASA decision.


Web racists convicted in historic trial

By Leon Symons, January 15, 2009

Two racists have been convicted of publishing racially inflammatory material in the first case brought by the Crown Prosecution Service involving the diffusion of race hate via the internet.

Stephen Whittle, 41, from Preston, Lancashire, wrote five offensive articles under the pen-name Luke O’Farrell, published on the internet by his co-defendant, 51-year-old Simon Sheppard from Hull.