UK news

Rabbi offers ‘second chance’ ceremonies

By Simon Rocker, July 4, 2008

A Liberal rabbi has sparked controversy within his own movement by suggesting that it should perform chupah ceremonies for couples who do not wish to get formally married for financial reasons.

Rabbi Ron Berry, of Bristol and West Progressive Congregation, writing in the last edition of Liberal Judaism Today, said he wanted to help Jewish couples who were “finding happiness in later life”.


Convicted Israeli baker loses appeal

By Dana Gloger, July 4, 2008

THE jailed Israeli owner of two London kosher bakeries and a kosher restaurant who secretly gave his pregnant wife abortion pills, lost his appeal against his sentence  this week.

Gil Magira, 36, from Hendon, north west London was sentenced to three years and nine months in March this year after pleading guilty to administering a noxious substance with intent to procure a miscarriage.


Last orders for Chinese

July 4, 2008

The owner of Britain’s first kosher Chinese restaurant will hang up his wok for the last time next week.

Marcus Witztum has sold his Marcus’s restaurant and takeaway in Temple Fortune in North-West London to LewcoPak, the Bedfordshire-based kosher poultry abattoir.


Friends fall out over ‘fake’ Facebook entry

By James Brewster, July 3, 2008

A man whose personal details were “laid bare” for all to see in fake entries on the Facebook social-networking website has launched an unprecedented High Court damages action.

Mathew Firsht, managing director of Applause Store Productions Ltd, is suing an old schoolfriend for libel and misuse of private information.

He claims that freelance cameraman Grant Raphael created false personal and group profiles, called “Has Mathew Firsht lied to you?”.


JFS admissions policy backed by judge

July 3, 2008

A challenge to the admissions policy of the JFS Comprehensive School in Kenton, North West London, appears to have ended today after Mr Justice Munby ruled the policy to be "entirely lawful and proportionate to the aims and objectives of the school." Sitting in Cardiff, the judge said that Jewish status could only be defined by Jewish law, and was not something to be determined by the secular courts.


Chinn sets out plan to aid London’s poor

By Candice Krieger, July 3, 2008

Sir Trevor Chinn, the newly appointed chair of the Mayor’s Fund for London, says he plans to use his experience working in deprived areas of Israel to help transform London.

A Labour supporter and philanthropist, Sir Trevor, 72, was approached by the new Conservative mayor Boris Johnson to head the fund, which will tap private wealth to help tackle London’s social problems.


You can’t be Hizbollah now: UK to ban support for group

By Bernard Josephs, July 3, 2008

Support for the armed wing of the Lebanese Hizbollah militia is to be barred under Britain’s anti-terrorism laws, the Home Office announced on Wednesday.

The group’s external security organisation was already included in the government’s list of outlawed terror groups, drawn up under legislation passed eight years ago. Now Hizbollah’s entire military structure is to be banned. This reflects UK anger that the organisation, which faced Israel in the second Lebanon war, also supports terrorism against British troops in Iraq.


Apprentice star Sugar quits Amstrad

By Candice Krieger, July 2, 2008

Sir Alan Sugar has stepped down as chairman of Amstrad, the electronics company he founded 40 years ago.

The 61-year-old star of BBC Ones’s Apprentice said the departure was a "planned move" following the company's acquisition by BSkyB last year.

But the self-made multi-millionaire is not retiring. He will continue to be involved with his other business interests, including Amshold, Amsprop, Amsair and Viglen computers.


Sunshine, speeches and a salute to solidarity

By Leon Symons, June 30, 2008

The streets of central London and Manchester were awash with blue and white on Sunday as the community turned out in force to mark Israel’s 60th birthday.

Police did not formally issue crowd figures, but organisers claimed that up to 40,000 people turned out in London for a parade and Trafalgar Square rally, with more than 6,000 at the Manchester parade and party.

In London, unofficial police sources estimated that there were around 8,000 people in Trafalgar Square at any one time, and that 6,000 people joined the carnival parade.


Hague tells Friends of Israel: I’m a Zionist

By Dana Gloger, June 27, 2008

Shadow Foreign Secretary William Hague declared on Wednesday that he considers himself a Zionist.

In a question-and-answer session for the Conservative Friends of Israel annual business lunch, Mr Hague was asked by JC columnist Times journalist Danny Finkelstein if he thought of himself as a Zionist. He said: “I believe in the existence of Israel and in its safety and democracy, so yes, I am.”