Marcus Dysch

Israelis banned from world conference

By Marcus Dysch, August 13, 2009

The Israel Antiquities Authority has launched a furious attack on the World Archaeological Congress claiming Israeli archaeologists were excluded from a conference held in Ramallah.

Together with the Archaeological Council of Israel, the IAA claimed WAC officials had “set out with the goal in mind of inserting political issues into the professional archaeological experience” during the Overcoming Structural Violence conference.

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How the baroness got her silver back

By Marcus Dysch, August 13, 2009

It was smuggled out of the Nazis’ grasp and hidden in a secret drawer in a small Krakow flat for more than 60 years, but a set of silver cutlery finally took pride of place in the home of a British baroness this week.

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Mountain rescue for yeshivah boys, again

By Nigel Burnham and Marcus Dysch, August 13, 2009

Rescue teams in the Lake District have criticised a group of 23 yeshivah students who got stuck on a mountain for the second successive year.

An all-night rescue operation was launched on Sunday after the group from Gateshead Talmudical College became stuck while descending the 2,057ft Looking Stead, in one of Cumbria’s most remote valleys.

The male students, aged 14 to 23, were stranded on steep ground in mist and rain after wandering off a fell pass. Many were ill-prepared and were wearing T-shirts and trainers.

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Date turns sour for Sex and the City star Kristin Davis

By Marcus Dysch, August 13, 2009

Playing the role of Charlotte in Sex and the City, Kristin Davis’s biggest concern was finding Mr Right. But this week she found herself at the centre of a bigger problem — an international row over West Bank settlements.

Ms Davis, whose character in the TV series converted to Judaism to marry lawyer Harry Goldenblatt, has worked as a goodwill ambassador for Oxfam since 2005, visiting HIV and Aids projects in Mozambique, Uganda and South Africa.

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Family of ‘starved’ child to seek refuge in Britain

By Marcus Dysch, August 6, 2009

The family of the three-year-old boy allegedly starved by his mother in Jerusalem plan to move to London and be supported by British taxpayers “as soon as possible”, according to the toddler’s grandmother.

The woman said her son and pregnant daughter-in-law would “run to Stamford Hill” with their five children as soon as legal proceedings against the mother are concluded.

Once in Britain, the grandmother said the couple, both in their 30s, would seek housing benefits and the help of the Charedi community in Stamford Hill, where she and other family members already live.

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Guardian under fire over Gaza war reports

By Marcus Dysch, August 6, 2009

The Guardian has clashed with a leading media monitoring group over its investigation into reports of war crime allegations during the conflicts in Gaza and Sri Lanka.

Just Journalism analysed five broadsheet newspapers’ reports of fighting between the IDF and Hamas, and between Sri Lankan government forces and Tamil Tiger separatists.

It found that the issue of whether war crimes had been committed was raised against Israel at “an emphatically higher rate” than against Sri Lanka.

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Last Jew of Vilkaviskis goes home

By Marcus Dysch, August 6, 2009

When Eli Rutstein and his family left Vilkaviskis 45 years ago, they were the last Jews to leave the Lithuanian town which had once boasted a Jewish community of thousands.

After they left for Israel, the town’s Jewish past was largely forgotten and its 50,000 residents are mostly now unaware of the role the community once played.

But last week Mr Rutstein, now a 61-year-old father-of-three, returned to his home town and received a hero’s welcome from civic dignitaries and former classmates.

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Former JNF boss drops his employment case

By Marcus Dysch, August 6, 2009

The former chief executive of JNF UK has withdrawn his claim for constructive dismissal against the charity.

Simon Winters agreed to drop the proceedings following negotiations between the parties. He will receive no compensation or further payment from the JNF.

Mr Winters was suspended from his role on June 27 last year while an investigation took place into allegations he had failed to control the charity’s income and expenditure ratio, allowed JNF money to be used “extravagantly” and used his company credit cards improperly.

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Regulator considers War on Want complaint

By Marcus Dysch, August 6, 2009

The Charity Commission has confirmed it is considering a complaint from the World Jewish Congress about the actions of anti-poverty charity War on Want.

WJC president Ronald Lauder wrote to the Commission last month after WoW called for a worldwide boycott of Israel.

A Commission spokeswoman said it was “considering the contents” of the letter. However, the representative could not say when the matter would be resolved or what action could be taken.

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Shivah-conman film could make Oscars

By Marcus Dysch, August 6, 2009

A critically acclaimed short film starring Sir Derek Jacobi as a trickster targeting shivah houses could be nominated for an Oscar after winning a prestigious award in Hollywood.

Sidney Turtlebaum won best foreign film at the annual LA Shorts Fest — the world’s largest short film festival — last week and is now automatically eligible for Academy Award consideration.

The 10-minute comedy was first screened at last year’s UK Jewish film festival.

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Now it's Iran's 'narcotics' wall

By Marcus Dysch, July 31, 2009

Courtesy of Harry’s Place, more wall news.

After India last week we now have Iran apparently making attempts to keep out narcotics from Afghanistan.

Where next? Italy? Ivory Coast? Indonesia might find it a bit trickier….

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Shuls collect donations for arrested Jerusalem 'starvation' mother

By Marcus Dysch and Anshel Pfeffer, July 30, 2009

Donations were due to be collected in every strictly Orthodox synagogue in Stamford Hill yesterday to raise money for the family of a three-year-old boy allegedly starved by his mother in Jerusalem.

The toddler weighed just 14lb when he was admitted to hospital earlier this month.

The boy’s father grew up in the Stamford Hill community and his grandparents still live there.

Money was due to be collected following Tisha B’Av minchah services. Proceeds will be donated to the family to help pay for the mother’s legal costs and medical bills.

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US teenager dies in arms of British girls in freak camp accident

By Marcus Dysch, July 30, 2009

An American teenager has died in the arms of two British camp leaders following a freak accident.

Leah Blum, who was 14, was killed after a 51ft branch fell 30ft from a tree and crushed her as she played with other youngsters in a tent.

Sophie Greenfield, of Radlett, and Leeds University student Tash Nineberg, both 21, rushed to help, but found Leah critically injured.

The British youth leaders had been in a neighbouring tent when the accident happened at the Emma Kaufmann Camp in Morgantown, West Virginia, USA, on Wednesday last week.

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US teenager dies in arms of British girls in freak camp accident

By Marcus Dysch, July 30, 2009

An American teenager has died in the arms of two British camp leaders following a freak accident.

Leah Blum, who was 14, was killed after a 51ft branch fell 30ft from a tree and crushed her as she played with other youngsters in a tent.

Sophie Greenfield, of Radlett, and Leeds University student Tash Nineberg, both 21, rushed to help, but found Leah critically injured.

The British youth leaders had been in a neighbouring tent when the accident happened at the Emma Kaufmann Camp in Morgantown, West Virginia, USA, on Wednesday last week.

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Maccabiah dorm 'had bugs and live wires'

By Marcus Dysch, July 30, 2009

Athletes from Britain’s medal-winning Maccabiah Games youth team have described their shock at finding cockroach infestations and live electric wires in the bedrooms of their Israeli accommodation.

The teenagers were due to stay at the Neveh Hadassah youth village, near Netanya, for the duration of the tournament but were relocated to a five-star hotel by Team GB bosses after just 24 hours due to health and safety concerns.

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New convert will turn hotel into synagogue

By Marcus Dysch, July 30, 2009

A hotel is to be turned into a synagogue to house a Golders Green Jewish community.

Plans approved by Barnet councillors will see the Central Hotel in Hoop Lane converted into a shul with two flats by members of the Sassov Synagogue, currently based in nearby Helenslea Road.

A Sassov spokesman explained: “We already own the hotel building but we don’t have a timeframe for the work to be done. Our community is growing and we need the extra space.” The purpose-built shul would replace the smaller building currently used for services.

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Survivors want their stories told

By Marcus Dysch, July 30, 2009

British Jews are asked to take a greater role in documenting the testimony of those who escaped the Shoah.

The appeal has come from Jewish Care’s Holocaust Survivors’ Centre in Hendon, which wants the wider community to help record the experiences of its 550 members, passing on the baton of remembrance for future generations.

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Is there something Rubens isn't telling us?

By Marcus Dysch, July 29, 2009

Watching the closing stages of last Sunday’s Hungarian Grand Prix, my mother pointed out an appendage on top of driver Rubens Barrichello’s helmet.

The 37-year-old Brazilian was, seemingly, wearing a Star of David. Right in shot of the car’s on-board camera.

I’ve been watching Formula One on and off for quite a few years. Long enough to have seen Barrichello racing around circuits all over the world. I couldn’t remember ever having seen the symbol on his helmet before. Nor had I any recollection of him having any Jewish heritage.

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India's Security Barrier

By Marcus Dysch, July 24, 2009

Last night's Channel Four News featured a lengthy report on a security barrier.

But, shock horror, it was not Israel's fence/wall in the West Bank, but rather the one at the centre of India's efforts to protect her border with Bangladesh and slow the threat from Islamist militants.

When complete, the barrier will consist of no less than 2,000 miles of barbed wire, manned by thousands of armed troops. The intention is that by next year the whole border will be sealed off.

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Richard Desmond loses libel battle

By Marcus Dysch, July 23, 2009

Newspaper boss Richard Desmond has lost his libel action over claims that he abused his position to pursue a vendetta against a rival media tycoon.

A High Court jury has decided by a majority that the Express Group owner was not defamed in Tom Bower's 2006 biography of the former Daily Telegraph owner Conrad Black.

Mr Desmond faces a bill for legal costs estimated at around £1.25 million.

Outside the court, Mr Bower said the jurors had "done a great service to British journalism".

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