Robyn Rosen

Hague: Our Israel policy will not change

By Robyn Rosen, November 26, 2010

The Foreign Secretary, William Hague, has denied claims that British foreign policy will change to reflect Arab concerns over the Middle East.

The Daily Telegraph reported yesterday that Whitehall officials had said that Mr Hague decided to “take on board” Arab foreign policy goals in an effort to secure better diplomatic and trade ties.

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UK to try Israeli technology for Alzheimer's

By Robyn Rosen, November 26, 2010

A computer program developed by Israeli therapists to "stabilise and slow down" Alzheimer's has been introduced to UK Jewish charities.

The program, called Savion, was designed by occupational therapists at Melabev, a day-care facility for Alzheimer's patients in Israel.

Motti Zelikovitch, director general of Melabev, met UK care providers, including Jewish Care and Nightingale, in south London last week.

Mr Zelikovitch said: "Savion came from 10 years of working with patients. It was born out of therapies, not from academic research."

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Hackney families 'forced out' by extension restrictions

By Robyn Rosen, November 26, 2010

The Mayor of Hackney has been accused of "social cleansing" by preventing large Charedi families from extending their houses.

Conservative and Liberal Democrat councillors are speaking out against Jules Pipe following new restrictions on extensions published earlier this year which, they claim, does not accommodate large families.

They say families are being forced to move to neighbouring borough Haringey, where in April the council approved guidelines for home extensions in an effort to address the problem of over-crowding in strictly Orthodox households in south Tottenham.

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Meeting stars of volunteering variety show

By Robyn Rosen, November 25, 2010

The diverse nature of Mitzvah Day activities was exemplified by a whistlestop tour of London projects on Sunday morning.

First port of call was a Norwood residential home in Oakfield Road, Finchley, where Finchley and Golders Green Tory MP Mike Freer was among volunteers cheerily painting apartments and hallways.

Norwood chief executive Norma Brier and local councillors Melvin Cohen, Dean Cohen, Daniel Seal and Andrew Harper also donned plastic overalls as the enthusiastic team painted the lounge of one of the flats yellow in a matter of minutes.

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Praise for mitzvah masses

By Robyn Rosen, November 25, 2010

Mitzvah Day founder Laura Marks says the community should be "extremely proud" of a record response to the day of social action.

An estimated 18,000 volunteers from more than 200 synagogues, schools and communal organisations worked on 600 projects.

"Mitzvah Day goes from strength to strength," she said. "It is the Jewish community's newest tradition,
a day on which we are all able to come together to make a difference to our own community, our friends, our neighbours and the strangers within our gates."

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Expanded Stanmore eruv plan is approved

By Robyn Rosen, November 25, 2010

An application for an expanded Stanmore eruv has been approved by Harrow Council.

The original application was passed by the council in June of last year but the eruv committee decided to extend the north and south boundaries.

Additional streets include Hilltop Way, Fallowfield, Aylmer Close, Little Common, Abercorn Road, Belmont Lane, Oak Tree Close, Acorn Close, Golf Close, Courtens Mews and Wolverton Road. It will cover Stanmore Synagogue and some small minyanim and will border the Edgware eruv.

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Member who married out is refused call-up

By Robyn Rosen, November 25, 2010

A member of Newcastle's Orthodox synagogue who married a non-Jew claims he was refused a call-up on his father's yahrzeit.

David Biermann, 65, requested the call-up from the United Hebrew Congregation to mark the 13th anniversary of his father's death.

He said he was told the shul's by-laws did not allow this for someone who had married out.

"I felt extremely upset. I am particularly distressed at what I consider the callous action of the shul.

"Yes, I can pray for my father, yes, the rabbi will say a prayer for him, yes,

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Actor labelled Nazi may sue Independent

By Robyn Rosen, November 25, 2010

An actor is threatening to sue the Independent after it used a photograph of him on its front page describing him as a Nazi murderer “wanted for the deaths of 430,000 Jews”, according to a Croatian newspaper.

Tuesday’s Independent splashed with the story of Samuel Kunz, the 89-year-old Nazi who died before he could be brought to trial for the alleged murder of thousands of Jews.

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'Taliban mentor' cleric allowed to speak at House of Lords

By Robyn Rosen, November 24, 2010

A senior Muslim cleric who is known as the “Taliban’s ideological mentor” has been allowed to enter the UK and address the House of Lords.

Fazlur Rehman, the head of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam party, came to the UK on Wednesday, at the invitation of the High Commission of Pakistan, and was due to address the House of Lords on Thursday.

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Nazi-quote MEP removed from European Parliament

By Robyn Rosen, November 24, 2010

A British MEP has been thrown out of the European Parliament chamber after quoting Nazi slogans.

Godfrey Bloom, the UKIP member for Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire, said: “Ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Fuehrer” which means “One People, One Kingdom, One Fuehrer” as German MEP Martin Schulz was making a speech this morning.

The phrase was a political slogan used by the Nazis.

Mr Bloom refused when asked to apologise and said: “You are an undemocratic fascist.”

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Lib Dem peer Jenny Tonge crosses line again

By Robyn Rosen, November 18, 2010

Controversial Lib Dem peer Jenny Tonge has accused Israel of being the "cause of terrorism" and said the West's treatment of Muslims was due to "Holocaust guilt" and the power of the pro-Israel lobby.

Baroness Tonge, who was sacked in February by leader Nick Clegg as health spokesperson after demanding an investigation into allegations of organ harvesting by the IDF in Haiti, made the comments in the House of Lords on Friday.

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Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks fails to speak out in Lords

By Robyn Rosen, November 18, 2010

The Chief Rabbi has not made a single speech in the House of Lords since he became a peer more than a year ago, apart from his maiden speech.

Lord Sacks, one of the most eloquent religious leaders in the English-speaking world, was made a life peer on October 27 last year but, according to the politics website They Work For You, he has not spoken in the House since his uncontroversial maiden speech a month later.

In this time, there have been several debates on controversial topics, including Israel, the labelling of kosher meat and universal jurisdiction.

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Board tells Queen mazal tov during Castle visit

By Robyn Rosen, November 18, 2010

A board of Deputies delegation visited the Queen this week to wish her mazal tov on her grandson's engagement and discuss its 250th anniversary.

Board president, Vivian Wineman, senior vice president, Jonathan Arkush, treasurer, Laurence Brass, vice presidents Paul Edlin and Jerry Lewis and chief executive Jon Benjamin were accompanied by the president of the Elders of the Spanish and Portuguese Congregation, Alfred Magnus to a private audience with the Queen at
Windsor Castle on Wednesday.

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When a chief rabbi spoke out on Israel

By Robyn Rosen, November 18, 2010

The last time an Anglo-Jewish leader spoke out against Israel in the press, a wave of criticism followed.

In an interview featured on the front page of the Evening Standard in May 1991, former Chief Rabbi Lord Jakobovits described the plight of Palestinian refugees as a "stain on humanity".

Yitzhak Shamir was Prime Minister of Israel at the time and the article was headlined: "Chief Rabbi Shames Israel".

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How to respond to 'lies about Israel'

By Robyn Rosen, November 18, 2010

A Middle East expert has urged community members to "oppose lies about Israel".

Lawyer Andrew White was addressing the Israel in Focus conference at the Israel embassy hosted by StandWithUs UK and attended by 60 young Jewish and non-Jewish professionals.

He gave examples of misinformation in the public arena regarding Israel, citing an article in The Economist claiming that Israeli traffic lights stop for less time for Arab traffic.

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Age-old questions discussed with Jewish Care

By Robyn Rosen, November 18, 2010

More than 80 people from 22 United Synagogue communities attended a conference on the challenges of ageing, organised jointly with Jewish Care.

The event included workshops, expert speakers and group discussions about new programmes and services.

"Being older in 2010 is very different than it was in the past," said Candice Woolfson, director of US social action arm, Chesed.

"We want to make sure we offer the services our older members want and need. This conference provided a forum to hear their views."

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Home found for Haringey free school

By Robyn Rosen, November 18, 2010

The location has been revealed for Haringey Jewish Primary, one of the new government-funded free schools which is set to open next September.

Peter Kessler, joint project leader, told a meeting of 200 parents that the school would be in Creighton Avenue, Muswell Hill, next to the well-regarded Fortismere secondary. He hoped it could share some Fortismere facilities.

"It will be a completely new building which is not the case for many of the new free schools," he said. "If approved, the government will fund it, which is an amazing opportunity."

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Islam Channel to appeal Ofcom Hamas bias ruling

By Robyn Rosen, November 15, 2010

The Islam Channel will appeal against an Ofcom ruling that found it has an anti-Israel, pro-Hamas bias.

The broadcasting regulator made the ruling last week following a report on the channel’s output by the Quilliam Foundation, a London-based counter terrorism think tank.

Ofcom criticised the channel’s coverage of international affairs and of the Middle East conflict for breaching rules on impartiality.

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Jenny Tonge: Israel is 'cause of terrorism'

By Robyn Rosen, November 15, 2010

Controversial Lib Dem peer Jenny Tonge has accused Israel of being the “cause of terrorism” and said the West’s treatment of Muslims was due to “Holocaust guilt” and the power of the pro-Israel lobby.

Baroness Tonge, who was sacked in February by leader Nick Clegg as health spokesperson after demanding an investigation into allegations of organ harvesting by the IDF in Haiti, made the comments in the House of Lords on Friday.

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Labour MP's son gets ASBO for selling 'legal highs'

By Robyn Rosen, November 12, 2010

Labour MP Louise Ellman’s son Sean has been given an Asbo to stop him selling controversial “legal highs” in his chain of drug accessory stores.

Sean Ellman, 38, has been banned from selling cannabis seeds and products containing the hallucinogen dimethyltryptamine at his Dr Hermans shops.

Mr Ellman is the son of the MP for Liverpool Riverside, who is vice-chair of the Labour Friends of Israel.

He was arrested last month for allegedly selling class A drugs.

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