UK news

Ambassador slams ‘anti-Israel’ Britain

By Shelly Paz, June 13, 2008

Israel’s ambassador to the UK claimed this week that the debate on Israel had been “hijacked” by a minority which said “don’t bother us with the facts”.

Ron Prosor declared that Britain was “a hotbed of anti-Israel sentiment” in an opinion piece which appeared in the Daily Telegraph on Tuesday. Mr Prosor, who said that the University and College Union’s resolution on an academic boycott of Israel had been the “trigger” for the article, added: “For five consecutive years everyone told me how marginal this issue was, how it was not significant.

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How far have women come?

By Simon Rocker, June 13, 2008
In 1994, a major review examined attitudes to women’s roles in the community. Its author says it is time for a new study

The head of a review into the role of women in the Jewish community is to take a fresh look at the subject to see what progress has been made — 14 years later.

Rosalind Preston, former vice-president of the Board of Deputies and ex-chairman of Nightingale, is putting together a team for a 2008 study.

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And now for the good news: Jews do live longer

By Alex Kasriel, June 13, 2008

It is something we have suspected for years. But now the JC can reveal: Jewish people do live longer than their non-Jewish counterparts.

Figures compiled by the Office for National Statistics suggest that there are nearly three times as many Jewish people who are 100 or older than there are in the general population. In the 2001 Census, twice the number of those in the Jewish community were 90 or more, compared to the rest of England and Wales.

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MP warns of Middle East ‘disaster’

By Simon Rocker, June 13, 2008

Mike Gapes MP, the chairman of the Commons’ foreign-affairs committee, this week said that he was “very pessimistic” about the prospect of a breakthrough towards an Israeli-Palestinian peace settlement this year.

“There are two reasons for that,” he told a Jewish Labour Movement event in London on Sunday to celebrate Israel’s 60th anniversary.

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Landmark school gets the go-ahead

By Dana Gloger, June 13, 2008

Plans for the country’s first non-denominational Jewish school got the go-ahead from a London council this week.

At a Barnet council planning meeting on Wednesday evening, councillors gave the Jewish Community Secondary School (JCoSS) permission to be built on the site where the sixth-form section of East Barnet secondary school currently stands. The £50 million project will be the only Jewish school not under the auspices of the Chief Rabbi.

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Charedim among poorest, yet have less social housing

By Simon Rocker, June 13, 2008

Strictly Orthodox Jews in Hackney, North-East London, are more likely to be receiving state benefits than the general population of the borough — but much less likely to be living in social housing.

According to a council study, 58.7 per cent of Charedi households received means-tested benefits compared with 38.6 per cent on average for Hackney as a whole.

But only 8.5 per cent of strictly Orthodox households lived in affordable social housing compared with 44.1 per cent for Hackney as a whole.

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Fears that BNP will run Stoke

By Dana Gloger, June 13, 2008

Anti-fascists are concerned that the British National Party (BNP) could control Stoke-on-Trent City Council within the next three years, following its gains in last month’s elections.

The party’s most notorious success in May’s local and London elections was Richard Barnbrook’s seat on the London Assembly, but it also made substantial gains elsewhere.

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BT shows it’s good to talk as it hosts 19 Israeli high-tech firms

By Shelly Paz, June 13, 2008

British Telecom’s warm hospitality towards 19 Israeli startup companies, on show this week at the BT Tower in Central London, may not signal a sudden end to the anti-Israel sentiment that the ambassador this week bemoaned in Britain.

But it does suggest that the UK telecoms giant has discovered the goldmine of Israeli high-tech.

Six months ago, the Israeli Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labour invited BT to launch a direct business channel between the two communities.

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Far-right’s first lady goes public on Shoah-denial

By Leon Symons, June 13, 2008

An attempt by a woman described as “one of the leaders of the extreme right” to justify her support for Holocaust deniers and Iran has been condemned by anti-fascist commentators.

Lady Renouf, a close friend of David Irving, has written to the JC in response to an article by columnist David Toube two weeks ago. Mr Toube criticised Lady Renouf’s support for disgraced academic Nicholas Kollerstrom, dismissed in April as an honorary fellow of University College London for publishing a paper claiming the gas chambers of Auschwitz never existed.

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Demolishing with Care

By Dana Gloger, June 13, 2008

This is the moment excavators began — delicately — tearing down Jewish Care’s North-West London headquarters.

The site, which includes Stuart Young House and the Michael Sobell Community Centre, is being demolished to make way for a £40 million redevelopment.

The work began with excavating machines pulling down the existing buildings this week.

The project will take around two years, longer than similar redevelopments because of the unusual nature of the demolition work.

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