Leon Symons

Faith work adopted by Europe

By Leon Symons, June 13, 2008

A Jewish-inspired project to integrate faith and ethnic minorities through schools and youth programmes is to be adopted by the European Commission.

Representatives from all 27 EU member states participated in a two-day conference in Belfast last week, where they were briefed on the Shared Futures scheme, begun in Britain by the Board of Deputies and the Pears Foundation.

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Developer in kosher revival

By Leon Symons, June 6, 2008

A property developer has undertaken a mission to bring kosher food back to South Manchester.

David Jebreel owns a non-kosher restaurant in the area that has closed down. Now he is seeking a tenant who will turn it into a kosher restaurant.

“There is a big Jewish community but there is nowhere for them to eat kosher. If people want to eat in a kosher restaurant, they have to travel up to 20 miles to north Manchester,” he said.

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Butchers’ fees cut by 10pc

By Leon Symons, June 6, 2008

Surprise cuts in fees paid by butchers of around 10 per cent per kilo on lamb and beef have been announced by the London Board for Shechita.

The cuts, which came into effect on Tuesday, have been introduced to help butchers facing spiralling wholesale prices, in order to limit what they then charge consumers. They have been welcomed by Jacky Lipowicz, chairman of the Licensed Kosher Meat Traders’ Association, the butchers’ “union”.



Prices ought to be limited after new fee cuts

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Forum gains a chief exec

By Leon Symons, June 6, 2008

The London Jewish Forum has poached a senior Board of Deputies administrator to be its first paid official.

Alex Goldberg, currently director of the Board’s community-issues division, has been appointed as the first executive director of the LJF and will take up the post later in the year.

LJF chairman Adrian Cohen said: “This marks a major step in the development of the forum. Alex brings with him enormous relevant experience in areas of community development and social cohesion that will enable us to advance our work in London.”

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Academic union could face legal action on ‘backdoor boycott’

By Leon Symons, June 6, 2008

The University and College Union will almost certainly face legal action if its executive decides to turn into policy the “back-door boycott” motion on Israel passed at its congress last week.

Senior lawyer Anthony Julius, acting on behalf of what he called a “growing number” of Jewish and non-Jewish UCU members, has written to UCU general secretary Sally Hunt setting out four areas where he said the union could be challenged legally. He argued that:

1) The motion, despite the union’s denials, is a boycott motion;

2) It is antisemitic;

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Board challenge on terror

By Leon Symons, June 6, 2008

Three members of a Jewish human-rights organisation have accused the Board of Deputies of misusing its claim to speak for the Jewish community.

Richard Kuper, newly elected chair of Jews for Justice for Palestinians, and two colleagues, Professor Irene Bruegel and Murray Glickman, have complained about a submission to the Home Office last August by the Board and the Community Security Trust on the Counter Terrorism Bill 2007.

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Refugees to get a new voice

By Leon Symons, June 6, 2008

Jewish refugees who fled Arab countries in fear for their lives will be given a new voice at a forthcoming conference in London.

Justice for Jews from Arab Countries (JJAC) has until now been a loose part of the American-based Centre for
Middle East Peace.

That will change at a three-day founding congress in London that will see JJAC create its own elected leadership and infrastructure.

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Yavneh 'outstanding', says Ofsted

By Leon Symons, June 6, 2008

Anglo-Jewry’s newest secondary school has received the highest marks possible ratings in its first Ofsted inspection.

Yavneh College in Borehamwood was awarded an outstanding grade in almost every area. The inspection team observed that what had been achieved in five terms was “remarkable”.

Overall, they found Yavneh’s “leadership and management outstanding” and “standards of work exceptionally high”. The curriculum and spiritual, moral, social and cultural aspects of the school were also ranked as outstanding.

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Choir delving deep into musical past

By Leon Symons, June 6, 2008

Ten centuries of Jewish music were in play as the second year of the Zemel Choir’s “Celebrate With Song” got under way in Central London on Sunday.

Participants grappled with scores from early Hebrew plainsong to baroque cantatas in intermediate and advanced workshop groups. Each is learning several pieces that will be performed in a concert also featuring the JFS and Pandemonium choirs at St John’s, in Smith Square, Westminster, on June 15.

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Boycotters win new motion

By Leon Symons, May 30, 2008

The next time an Israeli academic answers the phone and hears an English voice, there may be a different type of lecture in store.

“What are you doing to help Palestinian academics and universities? What action have you taken to protest about the occupation of Palestinian land? Have you served in the Israel Defence Force?”

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Battle begins as Nazis drop in for a beer

By Leon Symons, May 30, 2008

Manchester Jewish leaders have accused a local organisation of breaking a promise by allowing participants in a 1940s weekend to wear Nazi uniforms.

Bolton Street station in Bury, an area with a large Jewish community, was turned by the East Lancashire Railway society into a re-creation of a 1940s war zone at the weekend, with British “Tommies” rubbing shoulders with “Yanks” and “Germans”.

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Rape charges denied

By Leon Symons, May 30, 2008

An Israeli living in Golders Green appeared at Harrow Crown Court on Wednesday facing two counts of attempted rape and one of sexual assault.

Shay Kaldron, 32, pleaded not guilty to the charge of sexual assault. He did not enter a plea for the two counts of attempted rape as an application to have them dismissed will be heard next month.

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Qaradawi predicts a Muslim apocalypse

By Leon Symons, May 30, 2008

The unexpurgated views of Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi about Israel, Jews, Zionism and Palestine have been revealed for the first time in an English translation of a book he wrote in Arabic four years ago.

In a compilation of 14 rulings on various aspects of the Middle East conflict called Fatawa on Palestine, or “Rulings on Palestine”, the Islamic scholar feted by former London Mayor Ken Livingstone predicts an apocalyptic final battle between all Jews and all Muslims that would presage the day of judgement.

Mr Qaradawi believes that:

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Academics’ motion seen as a boycott by the back door

By Leon Symons, May 30, 2008

The University and College Union lived up to expectations on Wednesday by carrying a motion at its annual conference in Manchester that has been challenged as an attempt to reintroduce a boycott of Israeli academics by the back door.

Tom Hickey, the philosophy lecturer from the University of Brighton behind the motion, said the UCU was “urging people to reflect on whether it was appropriate for them to maintain their links with Israeli institutions”.

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Driven duo take the vintage route to new life in Israel

By Leon Symons, May 30, 2008

Yaniv Cohen and Ali Singer are making aliyah in style by driving a 1948 Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith saloon to their new homeland as part of the JNF’s London-Jerusalem car rally. But the pair’s epic journey was almost over before it had begun.

Mr Singer, a 28-year-old Londoner, was responsible for getting the vehicle to the starting line.

But unaccustomed to the fuelling requirements of a vintage Rolls-Royce, he ran out of petrol on the way to the start and only just made it to the ferry in Dover with the 25 other entrants.

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Councils block security funds for schools

By Leon Symons, May 23, 2008

An MP who has taken a leading role in fighting antisemitism is preparing to confront 14 local authorities which have baulked at committing themselves to fund new security projects at Jewish schools in their areas.

The government gave the councils the go-ahead last October to allocate money to such projects from a £21 billion, three-year education budget.

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'Yiddish' men attack and rob pensioner

By Leon Symons, May 23, 2008

Two Yiddish-speaking men armed with a hammer were being hunted by police in North-East London this week after they attacked and robbed an elderly money-changer in his home.

The men were dressed in traditional Charedi garb and the attack has left the community shocked.

Detective Constable Joan Martin, of Hackney Robbery Squad, said: “This was a vicious attack on an elderly gentleman and we are keen to ensure these individuals are caught as soon as possible. ”

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Murder victim's family await verdict

By Leon Symons, May 23, 2008

A North London couple fighting for justice for their murdered son face an anxious wait before finding out whether their five-year ordeal is at an end.


Murdered: Giles Van Cole

Irwin and Corinne Van Colle have this week sat patiently through a four-day House of Lords appeal granted to Hertfordshire Constabulary and due to finish yesterday.

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East London hit by anti-Israel graffiti

By Leon Symons, May 23, 2008

Police in East London have appealed for witnesses and information following a rash of anti-Israel graffiti which hit two boroughs last week.

A number of sites in Hackney and Tower Hamlets were attacked with blue and silver paint. Almost all of them carried slogans, such as “Jihad is the only solution for Israel”, “Jihad for Israel” and “Jihad to Tel Aviv”.

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Antisemitic attackers burn man's property in Ireland

By Leon Symons, May 23, 2008

A spate of attacks against a businessman has culminated in antisemitic graffiti being daubed on the wall of his home in a village in County Galway.

Herb Meyer’s car had been set alight twice and now his wall has been sprayed with the words “Jew Go Home” alongside the word “Jew” and a swastika.

German-born Mr Meyer, who lives in the village of Tuam with his partner Armida Walsh, had been dividing his time between the Irish house and his main home in London.

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