UK news

Machete robbers slash jeweller’s arms to get gold and cash

By Jonathan Kalmus, June 4, 2009

Manchester police are hunting a machete-wielding robber with piercing blue eyes after a Jewish jeweller had his arms slashed during a raid on his car outside Prestwich’s main post office last Friday.

David Singer, 54, who lives in Whitefield, needed an operation to reattach an arm muscle which was sliced during his ordeal. Three men in black balaclavas surrounded his blue BMW at around 8.15am, smashing windows with bats and launching themselves through the openings.


Call to pull ‘ladette’ dating ad

By Keren David, June 4, 2009

An advertisement featuring a woman wearing a low-cut top and clutching a glass of beer to promote an online dating agency has been condemned as “offensive”.

People living and working near a prominent poster site in West Hampstead, London complained that the picture had been cropped to omit the woman’s head.

All that is shown is her torso, the beer and the slogan: “What’s more, she’s Jewish.”

“It’s saying that her brain’s not important,” said Sarah Kaiser, who organised a letter of complaint to the dating company, JDate, backed by 40 signatures.


Film Festival under fire over Israel cash snub

By Leon Symons, June 4, 2009

The Edinburgh International Film Festival has come under increasing criticism for its decision to reject a donation from Israel.

Film director Gary Sinyor and the UK Jewish Film Festival have both attacked the EIFF for returning £300 given by the embassy in London to enable Israeli director Tali Shalom Ezer to attend the festival.

And one of Britain’s most distinguished producers, John Heyman, this week released a bitter letter he wrote to the festival’s chairman, Iain Smith, saying the festival’s actions had “endorsed bigotry”.


The drugs den next door

By Marcus Dysch, June 3, 2009

A cannabis factory capable of producing £800,000 worth of drugs a year has been uncovered at the heart of the north London community.

Around 1,000 plants were discovered during a police raid at a five-bedroom house in Downage, Hendon, last Friday morning. The road is home to dozens of Jewish families and properties regularly sell for more than £1 million.

It was the largest-ever find by officers in the borough of Barnet.

Two weeks ago officers uncovered 600 plants at a house in Mill Hill, and another raid took place in Edgware two months ago.


Downfall of Moshe’s mafia

By Marcus Dysch, June 3, 2009

Three Israelis, one of whom is 81 years old, have been convicted of running one of the biggest cannabis-smuggling operations ever intercepted by British police.

Grandfather Moshe Kedar, Yehezkel Srebro, 57, and 67-year-old Mordechai Hersh, were behind an elaborate plot to bring more than 12 tonnes of the drug, with a street value of £36 million, into the country using a tugboat.


Orthodox seek visa law change

By Simon Rocker, June 3, 2009

The Government is looking at proposals to offset new visa laws which have hit young strictly Orthodox Jews who want to marry partners from abroad.

The age for a spouse being granted permission to live in Britain was raised last November from 18 to 21 in a move designed mainly to combat forced marriages among the Asian community.

But representatives of the Charedi community, whose members traditionally marry young, say that this is stopping young people from Israel or the US coming to marry in the UK.


Fears that Bill may force shuls to hire non-Jews

By Simon Rocker, June 3, 2009

The Board of Deputies is studying the implications of the new Equality Bill amid concerns that it could become harder for religious organisations to restrict jobs to members of their own faith.

Jon Benjamin, the Board’s chief executive, said he was consulting heads of other Jewish organisations about the proposed legislation, which received a second Commons reading last month.


Shechita meets Halal

By Marcus Dysch, June 3, 2009

A shechita expert is to advise a Muslim group that monitors restaurants and butchers for compliance with halal slaughtering practices.

Chanoch Kesselman, executive co-ordinator of the Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations, will provide the Halal Monitoring Committee with information on pre-stunning animals.

Mr Kesselman said the link-up was an example of how different faiths could work together.


‘Brilliant’ civil servant hit by train

By James Martin, June 3, 2009

The Newcastle Jewish community is mourning the loss of a “brilliant, kind and unassuming young man”, after the death of 32-year-old Adam Rothapel last Tuesday.

Mr Rothapel, private secretary to Minister of Justice Bridget Prentice, died after being hit by a train at Finchley Road station in London.

Mr Rothapel, who lived in West Hampstead, was due to marry Sam Baden, his Australian-born fiancée, in August. He leaves behind his mother, Hilary.


Laura Pulver’s making Robin a merry man

By Alex Kasriel, June 3, 2009

Fans of the BBC tea-time drama Robin Hood will have been keenly watching the new series as fresh female villain Isabella, sister to the evil Sir Guy of Gisborne, came crashing in to the medieval romp as Robin’s latest love interest.