Marcus Dysch

Wanted: elite youth to train for leadership roles in the diaspora

By Marcus Dysch, April 14, 2009

The crème de la crème of young British Jews are being sought for the ultimate leadership programme run by Israel’s Foreign Affairs Ministry for the communal stars of the future.

Seminars with diplomats and analysts from across the Israeli political spectrum are the backbone of the scheme for those aged between 21 and 36. They will be trained in diplomacy, politics and Jewish organisation leadership skills and spend 12 days in Israel visiting government and judicial institutions.

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Barclays Bank shareholders’ visa ban revolt

By Marcus Dysch, April 14, 2009

Barclays’ sponsorship of a tennis tournament from which Israel’s top woman player was barred will be criticised at the bank’s annual meeting next week.

Some shareholders are angry that the bank continues to lend its name to the Dubai Tennis Championships, following the refusal of the United Arab Emirates to grant a visa to Shahar Peer to compete in the 2009 event in February. The decision prompted the Wall Street Journal Europe to withdraw its sponsorship and the Tennis Channel to cancel coverage.

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Going online to reach more abuse victims

By Marcus Dysch, April 7, 2009

The new executive director of Jewish Women’s Aid has outlined plans to expand the charity’s services to reach as many victims of domestic violence as possible.

Emma Bell said an online advice system was at the forefront of attempts to encourage abused women to come forward. Victims could make contact via email rather than through the national telephone helpline.

“The email advice service marks a new way of getting in touch with the women who need our assistance,” explained Ms Bell, 34. “We recognise lots of women cannot use the telephone if they are in dangerous situations.

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Madeira: Peace in the land of Ronaldo

By Marcus Dysch, April 7, 2009

Hurtling down the side of a mountain in a wicker basket supported by wooden slats and steered by two slightly tipsy gentlemen who don’t speak English may seem a rather peculiar way to spend a supposedly relaxing break. But in Madeira this is about as exciting as it gets. And that’s the whole point.

The birthplace of World Footballer of the Year Cristiano Ronaldo does not pretend to share his pace and flamboyance, but is instead, a quiet retreat for those enjoying their golden years and for those who want a restful break from the stress of city life.

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Muslim leader sues Blears in Gaza row

By Marcus Dysch, April 7, 2009

The deputy general secretary of the Muslim Council of Britain is suing Communities Secretary Hazel Blears for defamation following a row over Israel’s actions in Gaza.

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Family living in fear after hate attacks

By Marcus Dysch, April 7, 2009

An Israeli family living in Edgware say they fear for their safety after being subjected to a campaign of antisemitic abuse by their neighbours.

Police are investigating a number of incidents reported by the 38-year-old man and his wife since they moved to the Broadfields estate six years ago. The couple, who have five children, are too scared to be named. In the latest incident, their car, parked outside their ground floor flat, had its window smashed last Tuesday.

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Banned Hizbollah fighter blames JC

By Marcus Dysch, April 7, 2009

A Hizbollah fighter has been barred from re-entering Britain, and has blamed the JC for his detention by immigration officers.

Lebanese-born Dyab Abou Jahjah addressed two meetings in London last week, but left the country to visit Brussels before the weekend.

When he attempted to return on Saturday to catch a flight home to Beirut, he was detained for six hours before being denied entry.

Jahjah, who is also leader of a radical Muslim group, wrote on his blog: “They say I am a threat to the peaceful co-existence of communities.

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Boycott helpline at Tesco

By Marcus Dysch, April 7, 2009

Pro-Israel groups have attacked Tesco for setting up a customer helpline for those considering boycotting Israeli goods.

Tesco says it provided the service in expectation of calls questioning its stocking of products from Israel and the West Bank.

Callers selecting the general information option on its customer helpline hear the recorded message: “If you are ringing regarding Israeli goods, please press one.” They are then connected to specially-trained call centre staff.

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Elstree shul denies claim of rabbis’ rift

By Marcus Dysch, April 2, 2009

An alleged rift between the current and former Borehamwood and Elstree Synagogue rabbis is the talk of the community.

Writing in the shul magazine, author and JC columnist Michael Freedland referred to a “certain disquiet” between Rabbi Naftali Brawer and his predecessor Rabbi Alan Plancey. “Something must be done to get these two gentlemen together — for their own good and for ours.”

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Lib Dems are ‘little better than the BNP’

By Marcus Dysch, April 2, 2009

The Liberal Democrats have acted “little better than the BNP” in promoting anti-Israel views to win votes in Muslim areas, according to the Conservative Friends of Israel.

Launching a scathing attack on Lib-Dem election campaigning, James Arbuthnot MP, CFI parliamentary chairman, said the party was “attempting to incite hatred and fear for its own electoral advantage”.

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Charity scammers strike fear in elderly

By Marcus Dysch, April 2, 2009

Confidence tricksters are targeting Jewish community members and claiming to be collecting donations for Israeli charities.

One man, wearing a long beard and black hat and using the name “Yuval”, has contacted retired, wealthy pensioners in south London and the Midlands.

He quotes legitimate charities, including UJIA and KKL, and knows personal details about his victims, including their marital status, home addresses and telephone numbers.

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Firemen chop driver out of butcher’s van

By Marcus Dysch, April 2, 2009

A kosher butcher shop’s van driver had to be cut out of his vehicle on Wednesday morning following a serious road collision with another car.

The H Gross & Son employee was trapped for more than an hour after the crash at the junction of Princes Park Avenue and Golders Green Road, close to the store, shortly before 11am.

An eyewitness at Kay’s Delicatessen, opposite the junction, said: “The driver hurt his back and the firemen were worried about taking him out of the van, so they had to cut the roof off.”

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Exodus 2009

By Marcus Dysch, April 2, 2009

One of the oldest Jewish communities in the world, the Jews of Yemen, looks likely to come to an end as rescue operations begin to bring Yemeni Jews out of the country to escape persecution from Islamist extremists.

London’s strictly-Orthodox community is working with Immigration Minister Phil Woolas to ensure at least 120 people can move to Stamford Hill, north London.

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MEPs unite against Le Pen

By Marcus Dysch, March 26, 2009

Politicians across Europe are planning to unite to stop French far-right leader Jean-Marie Le Pen becoming the “father” of the European Parliament.

Mr Le Pen is expected to be the oldest member of the parliament if re-elected in June, meaning he would chair sessions until a new president is elected

But Socialist and Green party members have proposed a rule change to block him taking up the role.

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'Kabbalah' sacking claim

By Marcus Dysch, March 26, 2009

A City fund manager sacked a female director who refused to join him at Kabbalah sessions, a tribunal has heard.

Guy Oppenheim, chief executive of Notz Stucki, one of Europe’s largest asset management firms, allegedly bombarded Nadine Nassar with suggestive, late-night text messages and phone calls.

Last week, Central London Employment Tribunal heard how the married 55-year-old encouraged her to take part in the Kabbalah classes.

She was sacked in April 2007 after turning down his alleged advances and dropping out of the sessions.

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Café’s Israel boycott becomes PR disaster

By Marcus Dysch, March 26, 2009

A café owner has apologised for displaying a sign declaring “Jews are welcome”, saying it was a bid to allay fears that his boycott of Israeli goods could be interpreted as being antisemitic.

Chris Boddington said he was open about his boycott and support for the Palestine Solidarity Campaign at Café Crema in New Cross, south-east London. But he realised a boycott of Israeli produce could be equated with antisemitism.

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Artist wins top design gong

By Marcus Dysch, March 26, 2009

British artist Benjamin Shine has won a highly prestigious Red Dot design award for a children’s activity toy he has created.

Cordz, which is already on sale in the UK and the US, allows children to create pictures and doodles by sticking coloured lengths of cord on to a reusable board.

The Red Dot competition is the world’s largest and most distinguished design contest. There were 3,231 entries from 49 countries in the category in which Cordz was judged.

London-born Mr Shine, 31, said he was “blown away” by the award.

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British Library loses Ramban document

By Marcus Dysch, March 26, 2009

A 454-year-old edition of a book written by the 12th-century scholar, philosopher and rabbi, Moses ben Maimon — better known as Maimonides or the Rambam — is among 9,000 items missing from the British Library.

A library spokesman said the book, Letter on Astrology, is unlikely to have been stolen. Instead, it is thought to be missing somewhere in the 650km of storage shelves within the central London library. The library, which was formerly housed in the British Museum, moved to its new St Pancras base in 1998. The manuscript’s loss is believed to predate the move.

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Sir Paul McCartney joins peace charity

By Marcus Dysch, March 26, 2009

Sir Paul McCartney has followed the success of his first Israeli concert last year by joining the conflict-resolution organisation, OneVoice.

The former Beatle has been added to the honorary board of advisers for the charity, which works with Israelis and Palestinians to promote a two-state solution to the conflict.

During his concert at Tel Aviv’s Hayarkon Park last September, Sir Paul and his band wore OneVoice pin-badges.

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Anger over offensive magazine

By Marcus Dysch, March 26, 2009

Students have written and distributed a magazine littered with antisemitic jokes as part of a charity fundraising initiative.

Rag to the Future was produced by Barts and the London Students’ Association, part of the University of London, for rag week, which began last Friday.

Jokes about circumcision, pork and Jewish wives were among the most offensive material.

Juliet Lewin of Hatch End, north London, complained to the students’ association after reading a copy of the magazine given to her husband by students in central London.

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