Leon Symons

MPs' challenge on Israel's child prisoners

By Leon Symons, December 9, 2010

Israel has admitted that some Palestinian children as young as 12 or 13 charged with criminal offences have been brought into court in handcuffs and leg irons.

The practice was brought to light by four MPs of the All Party Palestinian Group who visited Israel and the West Bank at the end of last month with lawyers from Israeli non-governmental organisation Defence of Children International.

More..

That's your lot! Christie's drop 'hate' cartoon

By Leon Symons, December 2, 2010

Top auctioneer Christie's has withdrawn a cartoon from a sale due to be held next week after a complaint that its inclusion might break race and religious hatred laws.

The auction house sought guidance from Scotland Yard's arts and antiques squad after a complaint by a Jewish amateur antiques dealer. Christie's asked if the cartoon, Dumped in London, would breach race hate laws.

More..

Charedim in large properties fear benefit cap

By Leon Symons, December 2, 2010

Charedi leaders are fearful of the impact of the government's proposal for a £400 a week cap on housing benefit for rented homes with four bedrooms or more.

A Hackney Council report on the proposal concludes: "Ethnicity analysis of local housing allowance [LHA] claimants who will be adversely affected by the cap proposal clearly shows that the Charedi community will be the most severely affected."

More..

Rival hots up milk market

By Leon Symons, November 25, 2010

A milk price war has broken out in kosher shops in London and Manchester after the arrival of a new supplier.

Until now, milk for the strictly Orthodox community has been produced by Charedi Dairies and Edgware Dairies under licence from Kedassia, the kashrut division of the Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations, and the London Beth Din. It has been typically sold for 94p a litre.

But a fortnight ago, the Milk Company in north-west London launched its product under the licence of the London Beth Din and two independent rabbis.

More..

New Irish abattoirs to stop kosher crisis

By Leon Symons, November 18, 2010

Kosher meat supplies will continue to flow into Britain from Ireland despite a major abattoir having closed its kosher facility last month.

At least two other abattoirs have been employed to make sure that kosher butchers, primarily in the London area, will be fully stocked.

Slaney Foods in County Wexford announced without warning that it was closing its kosher production plant. The company, which also supplies meat to the McDonald's chain, said the decision to close had been made after news reports that halal meat was being used in some McDonald's restaurants.

More..

Gordon steps down at Yavneh

By Leon Symons, November 18, 2010

Malcolm Gordon has stepped down as governors' chair of Yavneh College in Borehamwood, having been involved in the school since its inception 11 years ago.

"I have been part of Yavneh since the first meeting on the whole project," said Mr Gordon, who has been succeeded by vice-chair Sue Nyman. "I have always said I would step down once all the building work has been completed and that has now happened.

More..

Tory chairman Andrew Feldman tipped for peerage

By Leon Symons, November 18, 2010

Two of the men closest to Prime Minister David Cameron have been tipped to be given peerages in a list of as many as 50 new working peers to be announced by Downing Street.

Andrew Feldman, Mr Cameron’s chief fund raiser and now joint chairman of the Tory Party, and Stanley Fink, a joint party treasurer, have been named among a large group who will augment the ranks of the House of Lords.

More..

Labouring for £241,000

By Leon Symons, November 11, 2010

The man who helped engineer the New Labour project told more than 600 business leaders and opinion formers what Labour needed to do to be re-elected.

Lord Mandelson, who was business secretary in the last Labour administration, said there were certain things that had to be aligned and perfect for the project to succeed.

"Any successful brand, whether in business or politics, needs the product, the service and the offer," he said at the Jewish Care Topland Group business lunch at Grosvenor House in Central London last week.

More..

Teenager first to set up war graves website

By Leon Symons, November 11, 2010

A website that will eventually contain details of all the Jewish servicemen and women who gave their lives in two world wars goes live this week – and it has all been created by a teenager.

Daniel Levy's interest in war graves was sparked during a visit to France four years ago with his scout group. The youngster was struck by the number of Jewish graves they came across.

More..

Islamic preacher Britain ban upheld

By Leon Symons, November 8, 2010

A judicial review has upheld the ban placed on Muslim preacher and writer Dr Zakir Naik by Home Secretary Theresa May earlier this year.

Dr Naik had planned a lecture tour to Britain in the summer at venues including the Sheffield Arena, Wembley Arena and the Birmingham National Exhibition Centre.

More..

Harry Potter star and the 'Israeli Holocaust'

By Leon Symons, November 4, 2010

Actress Miriam Margolyes was accused this week of "ignorance and moral imbalance" for remarks she made on the BBC's Andrew Marr Show on Sunday.

Ms Margolyes, who appears in the Harry Potter films, was asked to speak about her recent visit to West Bank refugee camps with the Action Aid charity. The programme ran a short film clip, supplied by Action Aid, showing her visiting the ramshackle home of a Palestinian family.

More..

Cruise company: choose Haifa or Tripoli

By Leon Symons, November 4, 2010

The online description is mouthwatering: "…an enticing mix of architectural and cultural wonders, this 14-night cruise on board Adonia takes in the magnificent cities of Haifa and Cairo, as well as a fascinating collection of other destinations…"

The only problem is any passenger who visits Haifa - despite forking out anything from £1,600 to more than £6,000 per head - will be "confined to ship" at another port: Tripoli, the capital of Libya.

More..

More than a million raised for MDA

By Leon Symons, November 4, 2010

Magen David Adom raised more than £1.1 million at its annual fundraising dinner at the Millenium Hotel in London's Mayfair on Tuesday.

An MDA spokesman said: "It was a record on the night but the dinner campaign goes on for longer than that."

The charity that raises money for Israel's ambulance service, and which also takes charge of its blood donation service, changed the usual dinner agenda of a serious speaker by bringing in impressionist and comedian Rory Bremner, who brought howls of laughter from the 340 guests with a stream of gags.

More..

Kaminski invited on Jewish tour of Britain

By Leon Symons, November 3, 2010

Controversial Polish right-wing politician Michal Kaminski has been invited to visit Britain to meet community leaders and talk to the Anglo-Jewish community.

Mr Kaminski has been invited to Mill Hill United Synagogue in north west London by its minister Rabbi Yitzchak Schochet, and is likely to visit at least one other Orthodox synagogue. It is also likely that he will meet members of the Charedi community, some of whom were invited to visit Jewish historical sites by the Polish Foreign Ministry last month.

More..

TV star cannot watch her show

By Leon Symons, October 28, 2010

A sixth-former will be telling Channel 4 viewers what a teenage girl has to do to observe Shabbat.

But North London Collegiate pupil Isabella Lenga, 16, will be unable to watch tonight's programme - because of her Shabbat observance.

Isabella, from Barnet, was one of five teenagers chosen to speak for five minutes on a topic important to them, having been recommended to the programme makers by FZY.

More..

Michael Gove digging in at Edgware

By Leon Symons, October 28, 2010

Education Secretary Michael Gove donned a hard hat on Monday to dig the first piece of earth for the Edgware Jewish Primary School building.

Mr Gove also reaffirmed his and the government's support for Jewish education, saying: "This government is committed to ensuring that every Jewish child who would like a Jewish education receives one. We will do everything that we can to help Jewish faith schools grow."

More..

Support pours in for young mum memorial fund

By Leon Symons, October 28, 2010

More than £40,000 for charity has already been raised in the name of a young north London mother-of-three who died on Monday night.

Jenny Morhaim, 27, suffered a sudden bleed into her brain. Her family were at her bedside. She was buried in the Har Hamenuchot cemetery in Jerusalem on Wednesday.

Thousands of people sent prayers and messages to a Facebook page. Money raised will assist needy Jewish families in north-west London through the Gift charity.

More..

Last orders as shuls buy pubs

By Leon Symons, October 28, 2010

Pints are being swapped for pews in Hendon's Jewish heartland as two pubs have been taken over by synagogues.

The news comes in the wake of the opening of a major kosher hotel which the owners describe as "part of the regentrification of Hendon".

Porat Yosef, a Moroccan Jewish community, has bought Kerrigan's, almost on the junction of Brent Street and Bell Lane, for an undisclosed sum. Scaffolding has been erected and building work is expected to start shortly.

More..

Witness sought for Barnet attempted burglary

By Leon Symons, October 22, 2010

Police in Barnet have launched an appeal to trace a man described as a “Jewish male” who may have vital information about an attempted burglary.

The man, who was wearing a kippah, drove after two men who had been seen leaving an empty flat in Bridge Lane, Golders Green, north west London. Subsequently police said the man saw the suspects drive away in a blue Renault Megane. The “Jewish male” was driving a white or cream-coloured people carrier.

More..

Bomber Command back £2m WW2 memorial

By Leon Symons, October 21, 2010

RAF veterans are in a frantic race to raise almost £2 million to ensure the building of a memorial for their dead comrades in Bomber Command.

A total of 55,573 men from Bomber Command died during World War II. Their losses were greater proportionately than those of any other service. It is the only section of the wartime armed forces that does not have a memorial to those who died.

In May this year, planning permission was given to build a memorial in Green Park in central London, costing around £5 million.

More..