UK news

New 'roadmap' provides hope for divorce solution

By Simon Rocker, July 30, 2009

A major initiative was launched this week to resolve one of the most problematic issues in Jewish law — the plight of the agunah, the “chained woman”, unable to remarry because her husband has denied her a get, a religious bill of divorce.

An academic team from Manchester University is today publishing a “roadmap” towards possible solutions after a five-year investigation.

Professor Bernard Jackson, a specialist in Jewish law and director of the university’s Agunah Research Unit, warned: “There is no single magic bullet to solve the problem.”


How a TV documentary helped one woman get a divorce

By Jonathan Kalmus, July 30, 2009

A couple who came before the Manchester Beth Din speak anonymously in the documentary about the problems that led to the husband refusing to give his wife a get.

The 49-year-old wife, who has three children from her first marriage, claimed that her husband had become abusive when she told him she wanted a divorce and that he would give her a get only if she paid his court fees.

“The final dissolution took just a year. We gained our civil divorce in 1998. But it’s taken 11 years for the get, which was received in April at the Manchester Beth Din.


Get took five desperate years, now I'll be shunned

By Leon Symons, July 30, 2009

A strictly Orthodox woman featured in a new television programme dealing with gittin (religious divorces) has revealed that in desperation she obtained a get from a non-Orthodox religious authority.

Miriam Saleh speaks for the first time about her five-year ordeal of trying to obtain a get from her husband in the Channel 4 documentary Revelations: Divorce – Jewish Styleo be screened on Sunday.


The Voice's racist Israeli jail claim is 'blood libel'

By Keren David, July 30, 2009

Israel’s ambassador to the UK has accused Britain’s leading black newspaper of printing a story “in the spirit of a blood libel”, while the paper’s own source for the article has slammed its coverage as “sensationalised and inaccurate”.

The Voice newspaper’s front page headline in its July 20 edition read: “Hundreds of black people being held in Israeli jails”, a claim based on the “astonishing” story of film-maker Ishmahil Blagrove, detained by the Israeli navy while on board a ship taking aid to the people of Gaza.


Divestment tops the Jews for Justice survey

By Leon Symons, July 30, 2009

The Jews for Justice for Palestinians survey sought to establish what kind of boycott its members would be ready to back. It elicited 417 responses to two sections. The first listed nine different boycotts:

- A consumer boycott of all Israeli goods
- Lobbying to achieve a full ban on the importation of Israeli products and produce
- Divestment from companies investing in Israel
- Suspension of all EU trade with Israel
- A boycott of state sponsored cultural institutions and artists in receipt of state sponsorship
- Divestment from Israeli companies


Jews plan Israel's boycott

By Leon Symons, July 30, 2009

The JC has revealed plans developed by Jews For Justice For Palestinians (JFJFP) to cause maximum damage to Israel by extending boycotts.

At the anti-Israel organisation’s recent annual meeting, activists discussed a survey of its members which showed clear support for a comprehensive boycott. More than 400 JFJFP activists responded to the survey.


Charity stands by Desmond after failed case

By Simon Rocker, July 30, 2009

Norwood has stood by its president Richard Desmond after the newspaper owner’s failed libel suit which put his business conduct into the spotlight.

Mr Desmond was left with an estimated £1 million plus costs when a High Court jury last week rejected his claim for defamation against the investigative journalist Tom Bower.

In a statement, Norwood chairman Bernie Myers said this week that Mr Desmond had been a “committed supporter” of the charity for more than 20 years and it had been “delighted” to appoint him as president three years ago.


Esther Rantzen will stand for election in Luton

By Jessica Elgot, July 28, 2009

Presenter Esther Rantzen has confirmed she will stand for election as an Independent MP in Luton South in the next General Election.

Labour MP Margaret Moran is standing down for her post in Luton after she was exposed by the Daily Telegraph for using £22,500 in expenses for treating dry rot at her home in Southampton.

The former That's Life presenter and founder of children's charity Childline said she was prompted to run after feeling such outrage at the MPs' expenses scandal, and has been hinting about her intentions for months.


Actor Harry Towb dies

By Jenni Frazer, July 27, 2009

The distinguished character actor, Harry Towb, has died, aged 83, at his London home.

Mr Towb is said to have been the only Jew born in the Northern Irish town of Larne, County Antrim, but he grew up in Belfast. His family lived for a while in Newcastle on Tyne before returning to Belfast.

Last December he appeared as David, the elderly fiance of scheming Janine Butcher in EastEnders, taking part in a storyline filmed at Hendon United Synagogue.


Amy Winehouse not guilty of assault

By Jessica Elgot, July 24, 2009

Amy Winehouse has been found not guilty of punching a dancer at a charity ball in Berkeley Square last September.

The Jewish singer denied assaulting burlesque dancer Sherene Flash by punching her in the eye after a friend tried to jump in the photograph that Miss Flash was taking of Ms Winehouse.

She was been found not guilty at City of Westminster Magistrates' Court.

Ms Winehouse could not attend her grandmother Esther's funeral because of her trial, but mother Janis has told the Evening Standard that Ms Winehouse will attend the shiva this week after her acquittal.