Leon Symons

Duncan Smith: children must see Auschwitz

By Leon Symons, September 7, 2010

A trip to Auschwitz earlier this year led the Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith to present an award to a Holocaust survivor.

Mr Duncan Smith presented one of two certificates to 93-year-old Lithuanian Josef Levinson, who has single-handedly identified and organised memorials for more than 200 mass graves and cemeteries of Jews in the Baltic country over the past 30 years.

In May, Mr Duncan Smith joined a Holocaust Educational Trust one-day trip to the former death camp.


Glasgow pro-Palestinians target Israeli dates

By Leon Symons, September 7, 2010

Dates from Israel are being driven off supermarket and grocery shop shelves in Scotland in a boycott campaign orchestrated by Palestinian supporters.

Scottish Palestinian Solidarity claim that as many as 30 Asian grocery shops in Glasgow alone were persuaded to stop selling Israeli dates to Muslims during the festival of Ramadan, which ends on September 10.


Arab boy's organs save lives

By Leon Symons, September 7, 2010

Organs from a three-and-a-half-year-old Palestinian boy who died after a tragic accident have saved the lives of three people.

Abdul Hai Salhut fell near his home in Jabel Mukaber in east Jerusalem about ten days ago. He was taken by his family to a local hospital and then transferred to Hadassah Ein Kerem hospital, where he underwent surgery. But despite the efforts of doctors to keep him alive, his condition deteriorated and he died on Thursday.


Faith school considers academy status

By Leon Symons, September 7, 2010

JFS has started a public debate about whether or not it should apply for academy status.

Chair of governors Michael Glass called for anyone who wanted to give their views on the subject to contact him via the school in Kenton, north west London.

Mr Glass said after a governors’ meeting on Monday evening: “JFS has an obligation to consider whether such a change of status would help it to serve better our students and the community.”


Schoolgirl at JFS after five-year fight

By Leon Symons, September 3, 2010

A family's five-year fight to get their daughter admitted to JFS ended when she joined the school's sixth form yesterday (Thursday).

Maya Lightman took her place at the school in Kenton, north west London, as a direct result of the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court rulings last year that JFS had discriminated directly against a boy, known only as M.


Girl died from painkillers she mistook for sweets

By Leon Symons, September 2, 2010

A five-year-old girl died of a drug overdose after mistaking painkillers for jelly beans, an inquest heard this week.

Hanna Collins was believed to have climbed onto a chair to reach what she thought were sweets in a cupboard where her father kept his medication.

Hanna would have been unable to read the "keep out" sign on the packet of Tramadol, Hertfordshire coroners were told.

Her father Andrew was looking after Hanna, her twin sister Lucy, and Amy, on the night of March 18 while their mother Claudia went swimming.


Bus stop adverts are the route to security

By Leon Symons, September 2, 2010

Bus stop Community Security Trust advertisements giving guidance on reporting antisemitic incidents will be a feature of the CST's High Holy Days campaign in the major London centres.

Following a successful trial in Golders Green and Temple Fortune last year, the framed adverts will additionally appear in Hendon, Edgware, Barkingside, plus a Yiddish and English version in Stamford Hill. The project will again receive Home Office funding.


Fight against EU kosher meat plan

By Leon Symons, August 13, 2010

Manchester Beth Din and Kashrus Authority is joining Shechitah UK to fight a European Union proposal that shechitah items be labelled "meat from slaughter without stunning".

The authority - which will formally announce its support at a public meeting in October - sees the EU plan as a serious threat to shechitah in Britain.


Bid to ban Gaza kids tour from schools

By Leon Symons, August 12, 2010

Community leaders are battling to stop an exhibition of paintings by children from Gaza being shown in schools in the North of England.

Campaigners say they have no objection to the paintings, but have reacted with anger at a series of talks given to accompany them.

Property developer Rod Cox, 62, masterminded the exhibition after visiting Gaza where children gave him paintings depicting their view of life there. Some show scenes of devastation.


Kidnappers ‘forced man to issue a get’

By Leon Symons, August 5, 2010

Strictly orthodox rabbis are fighting claims that a woman's marriage is invalid because her husband was forced to issue a get under duress.

Friends of her ex-husband have started a campaign claiming he gave it after he had been kidnapped.

But the Union of Hebrew Congregations dismissed the claims and insisted he had been paid nearly £16,000 to give it.

"This man abandoned his family and now wants to get revenge and stir up trouble," said a UOHC source.

Neither the man or the woman can be identified but he is an American living in New York and she lives in London.


Del Monte divorce leads to law change

By Leon Symons, August 5, 2010

The ongoing divorce of one of Anglo-Jewry's most high-profile couples has led to a significant change in divorce law.

Lisa Tchenguiz, sister of property developers Vincent and Robert, has been involved in lengthy proceedings to separate from her husband Vivian Imerman, former owner of Del Monte Foods and the Whyte & Mackay whisky group. Mr Imerman was formerly in business with the Tchenguiz brothers.

When Ms Tchenguiz filed for divorce, Mr Imerman was locked out of the office he shared with the brothers and thousands of documents were removed and given to his wife's lawyers.


'Combatants For Peace' Palestinians call for Hamas to make peace

By Leon Symons, July 30, 2010

Two Palestinians have called for Hamas to end
its attacks against Israel and make

Mahmoud Hamdan told an audience in London: “I want to convey a
message to Hamas: stop the violence and stop the blame cycle. We want to live in

His colleague Malaka Samara said: “During the
second intifada, they said 'we are an Islamic group ' and that 
Islam was the representative religion of Palestine. I don’t think
this is right. I don’t trust them.


Israeli scientists help paralysed talk

By Leon Symons, July 29, 2010

VScientists at Israel's Weizmann Institute have invented a unique device operated by sniffing that could allow people who are completely paralysed to communicate with their family and control wheelchairs.

The new system identifies changes in air pressure inside the nostrils and translates these into electrical signals. The device was tested on healthy volunteers as well as quadriplegics, and the results showed that the method is easily mastered.


International Israel support initiative launched

By Leon Symons, July 22, 2010

An unprecedented show of support for Israel has come from a group of almost entirely non-Jewish European and American politicians, statesmen and women and theologians.

Led by former Spanish prime minister José Maria Aznar, they have formed the Friends of Israel Initiative, to oppose the rising tide of criticism and delegitimisation that has questioned Israel's right to exist and act in self-defence.


Deputy leader of BNP resigns

By Leon Symons, July 2, 2010

The deputy leader of the BNP has resigned in a seeming show of support for embattled leader Nick Griffin.

Simon Darby has used his blog to claim that he has sacrificed himself for the good of the BNP . He also says he hopes to try to head off any internal battles ahead of a leadership election, sparked by the party's poor showing in the general and local elections.

A challenge to Mr Griffin's leadership is being mounted by former elections officer Eddy Butler, with Nick Cass, the former Yorkshire regional organiser, as his running mate.


Aryan Strike Force: Houses of horror revealed

By Leon Symons, July 1, 2010

They were two anonymous houses in anonymous suburban terraces. But when police arrived with search warrants they found much more than three-piece suites and pictures on the mantelpiece.

Walls were adorned with Nazi flags and rooms were littered with weapons, including knives, a machine gun and rice flails. In one, a Samurai sword hung above a bed and knuckledusters were displayed like trophies.


Purim knife man talked out of attack

By Leon Symons, July 1, 2010

A member of the Shomrim Jewish security team has spoken for the first time of how he and three colleagues disarmed a man wielding an 8in knife at the height of this year's Purim celebrations.

The man, who asked not to be identified, is in his early 20s and was praised by Barnet police for the way in which he and his team dealt with a potentially dangerous situation.

He said: "The call came through to the Shomrim hotline that there was a man with a knife in Bell Lane, Hendon. I and three colleagues put on anti-knife vests, as we have been trained, and went there.


Charedi fears over visa English lessons

By Leon Symons, July 1, 2010

A tightening of the marriage visa law requiring potential immigrants who want to marry here to learn English before they come to Britain has sent a shockwave through the Charedi community.

The new law, to be introduced in September, will mean that applicants will be asked to produce proof of their English studies when they apply for their visa.


Neo-nazis guilty of race-hate postings

By Leon Symons, June 25, 2010

A pair of neo-Nazis who posted abusive messages on the internet about Jews have been convicted of inciting racial hatred.

Michael Heaton, 42, and Trevor Hannington, 58, members of the so-called Aryan Strike Force, left comments on its website, Liverpool Crown Court heard.

Heaton said of Jews in one of them: "...They will always be scum, destroy 'em with whatever it takes" and "I would encourage any religion or race that wants to destroy the Jews, I hate them with a passion."


BMA drops anti-Israel motions

By Leon Symons, June 24, 2010

Two motions critical of Israel have been eliminated from next week's British Medical Association conference.

The BMA's London regional council and its Enfield and Haringey branch put down identical motions complaining about Israel's treatment of Palestinian medical personnel in Gaza.

But the conference agenda committee has tabled its own resolution, deploring all regimes which hamper the work of doctors and other medical staff but, significantly, does not single out any country.