UK news

As Wrapit folds, newlyweds tie their hopes to the bank

By Leon Symons, August 8, 2008

The fears of many newlywed couples hardened into reality this week when online wedding gift company Wrapit went into administration and closed on Monday.

Many of its 2,000 clients were Jewish, some of whom were highlighted in last week's JC.

One, Manchester solicitor Marc Yaffe, has been one of the worst affected. He and his wife Natalie were married on June 29 and have not received any presents.


Armed robbery at kosher deli

By Jonathan Kalmus, August 8, 2008

Three masked robbers armed with knives and a hammer threatened staff at Shefa Mehadrin Kosher Deli in Manchester, before ripping out its till.

The robbery, which lasted just two minutes, began when the three men entered the shop at 8pm last Thursday shouting.

“One held a hammer high in the air and shouted, ‘open up the tills’, said Gavriel Jacobson, who was shopping inside at the time. “Everyone froze, then they pulled out the whole till and ran away.”

Around 20 people were inside the shop at the time.


Galloway spoof that closed down a radio station

By Marcus Dysch, August 8, 2008

A Jewish community radio station has closed down after it lost a libel case brought by the controversial MP George Galloway.

During a Jcom broadcast last November, a presenter made remarks construing Mr Galloway as antisemitic, while pretending to be the Respect MP and referring to him as the station's "Middle East correspondent".

The spoof character, "Georgie" Galloway, used the catchphrase "kill the Jews, kill the Jews".


Cocaine blamed for rabbi's crash death

August 5, 2008

A wealthy philanthropist dubbed "God's postman" was killed when he crashed his Bentley after taking cocaine, an inquest heard.

Rabbi Benzion Dunner, who gave millions to charity, may have been under the influence of the class A drug as he drove his two sons in his £175,000 car.

The 45-year-old lost control of the Bentley Arnage as he overtook another vehicle at 80mph, careered off the road and ploughed into a tree.


Campus hate figures soar

By Leon Symons, August 1, 2008

Antisemitic incidents in universities shot up by 88 per cent in the first half of this year, according to figures released this week by the Community Security Trust.

There were 49 incidents in the first six months of this year compared to 26 in the first half of 2007. However, only two involved assaults and both of those were off campus; the rest were incidents of verbal abuse or graffiti.


Sacks tells Lambeth bishops that all society needs religion

By Simon Rocker, August 1, 2008

Jews and Christians have done more than any religions to "mend their relationship", Chief Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks said in the first address by a rabbi to the Anglican Lambeth Conference in its 140-year history.

Speaking in Canterbury on Monday to around 650 bishops from across the globe, the Chief Rabbi recalled the progress made towards reconciliation.


Anguish of parents as Law Lords reject plea for Giles

By Leon Symons, August 1, 2008

Five Law Lords this week dashed the hopes of a couple who have spent five years fighting for justice for their murdered son.

They allowed Hertfordshire Constabulary's appeal against a Court of Appeal ruling that it had breached the human rights of Giles Van Colle by failing to protect him from his killer. Mr Van Colle, then 25, was shot three times in the back in November, 2000 by Daniel Brougham, a former employee against whom he was due to give evidence in a theft trial.


Demolition reprieve for Satmar shul

By Marcus Dysch, August 1, 2008

A strictly Orthodox synagogue has won a temporary reprieve from having part of its complex demolished.

The Satmar Synagogue in Craven Walk, Stamford Hill, North London, won an appeal on a technicality against an enforcement notice issued by Hackney Council.

The council issued the notice last September in an attempt to reverse the construction of two extensions and installation of three air-conditioning units at the building, which had been started before planning permission was granted.


Newlyweds furious as gift firm falters

By Leon Symons, August 1, 2008

Scores of newlyweds have been left without wedding presents after an online wedding gift company suffered financial difficulties.

Some couples, who had kept their presents on hold until after their weddings while they waited to move into new homes, now face the prospect of staring at empty rooms.

Customers will know by the end of this week whether or not they will receive any wedding presents after Wrapit, started seven years ago by Jewish ex-fashion writer, Pepita Diamand, has held talks with potential new investors to try to stay in business.


Commons committees urge UK to talk to Hamas

By Bernard Josephs, August 1, 2008

The government is under pressure from two influential House of Commons select committees to drop the boycott of contacts with Hamas which it shares with members of the international Middle East Quartet.

The chairman of one of the committees, Labour MP Mike Gapes, last week held private talks on the issue with Tony Blair, Middle East envoy of the Quartet - the United States, the European Union, the United Nations and Russia.