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April 24, 2014 / 24 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Britain’

Queen Elizabeth to Honor Haredi Israeli Rabbi

Tuesday, December 31st, 2013

Queen Elizabeth will grant Israeli Haredi Rabbi Yitzchak Shapira one of the Commonwealth’s highest civilian honors with an appointment as Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, the British Embassy announced Tuesday.

Rabbi Shapira is the son of former Haredi Knesset Member Rabbi Avraham Yosef Shapira. The Embassy said he will be honored at Buckingham Palace for “strengthening the ties between the UK and the Haredi community.”

The rabbi responded to the announcement  by seeing he is “deeply honored” and that Britain has displayed“ warmth “and a “supportive attitude” towards Haredim.

Rabbi Shapira has “helped us build a friendship and understanding between Britain and the Haredi community,” said British Ambassador to Israel Matthew Gould. “Isaac ]Yitzchak] has devoted a huge amount of time over many years to helping me and my predecessors get to know this vital and important part of Israeli society.”

The award does not grant him the title of “Sir.”

Playing both sides of the street, Britain also announced it is awarding a similar honor to American-born Reform Rabbi Mark Winer, a British subject and a U.S. citizen.

Winer, 71, received the honor for services to interfaith dialogue and social cohesion in the United Kingdom. He said in a statement that he was “humbled and thrilled” to accept the honor. He is founder of the international interfaith charitable initiative FAITH: The Foundation to Advance Interfaith Trust and Harmony.

British Rabbi Herschel Gluck, founder of the Muslim-Jewish Forum, also received an OBE for services to interfaith understanding.

Another American-born recipient of the OBE award is Brett Wigdortz, 39, for his efforts as founder of the education program Teach First.

Among the other recipients of New Year’s honors from the Queen are several Jews, both born in Britain and elsewhere.

David Kustow, former chair of UK Jewish Film, was awarded an OBE for services to film and for his role in the signing of the British-Israeli film cooperation treaty. Raymond Dwek, an Oxford University professor who co-chairs the UK-Israel Life Sciences Council, was awarded a Commander of the British Empire, or CBE award, for his services to scientific collaboration.

Philanthropist Michael Heller received a knighthood for his charitable services.

An Auschwitz survivor, Mayer Hersh, was honored as a Member of the Order of the British Empire for his work in the field of Holocaust education.

Penny Ur, a British-born Israeli who studied at Oxford, was awarded an OBE for exceptional work in English teaching.

In total, more than 1,000 people were honored by the queen in advance of the new year, a British tradition since at least 1890.

 JTA contributed to this report.

NBA’s Tony Parker Apologizes for Anti-Semitic Salute

Tuesday, December 31st, 2013

National Basketball Association star Tony Parker has apologized for performing an anti-Semitic salute after a three-year-old photo was published in the French media.

The photo shows Parker, who was born in Belgium and is French by nationality, performing the quenelle salute earlier this year standing next to the gesture’s founder, anti-Semitic French comedian Dieudonne Mlaba Mlaba, backstage at a theatre in France.

The quenelle is a quasi-Nazi salute designed to circumvent France’s laws against displaying Nazi symbols.

The Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center and the Anti-Defamation League had called on Parker, who plays point guard for the San Antonio Spurs, to apologize for performing the salute.

“While this gesture has been part of French culture for many years, it was not until recently that I learned of the very negative concerns associated with it,” Parker said in a statement released late Monday by Parker’s team, the San Antonio Spurs.

“When l was photographed making that gesture three years ago, I thought it was part of a comedy act, and did not know that it could be in any way offensive or harmful. Since I have been made aware of the seriousness of this gesture, I will certainly never repeat the gesture and sincerely apologize for any misunderstanding or harm relating to my actions,” Parker said in the statement.

The ADL praised Parker’s apology. “We call on those who have posed with the quenelle to follow Parker’s lead and stop using it. Responsible public figures should condemn those who use a gesture which was created to express anti-Semitism,” the ADL said in a statement.

Reports of the Parker salute came a day after soccer player Nicolas Anelka, a French national playing for Britain’s West Bromwich Albion soccer team, was roundly condemned for performing the salute during a match on Saturday. Britain’s Football Association has launched an investigation of the Anelka incident.

In a letter sent Tuesday to the Football Association and the UEFA, the governing body of European football, European Jewish Congress President Dr. Moshe Kantor called for a fight against anti-Semitism in football, especially in the wake of the Anelka salute.

“At the European Jewish Congress, we regularly receive reports of attacks on Jews, whether verbal or physical, which also include acts of anti-Semitism at matches involving English and European football clubs,” Kantor wrote in letters to Greg Dyke, chairman of The Football Association and Michel Platini, president of UEFA. “Mr. Anelka’s recent action is a reminder that hatred of Jews in the stands can very easily find its way right on to the pitch. Similarly, the legitimization of anti-Semitic acts by players who are supposed to act as role models for youth is a particularly dangerous phenomenon, and one that is not restricted to Anelka alone,” Kantor’s letter read.

Kantor and the EJC offered their cooperation to the football associations to help fight anti-Semitism.

Britain’s Chief Rabbi Calls for Ban on Women Reading from Torah

Thursday, December 19th, 2013

British Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis has called on Orthodox synagogues to ban “partnership” minyan services, where women can lead prayers and read from the Torah.

“I know that you are working with our communities to find ways, within the boundaries of halacha, to make prayer, learning, leadership and involvement more meaningful for men and women alike, and I encourage this wholeheartedly,” Rabbi Mirvis wrote, Rabbi Mirvis wrote a message sent to rabbinic leaders Wednesday. However, he added that the services were “not something that can take place within our synagogues,” the Jewish Chronicle reported.

Last month, The United Synagogue condemned the Golders Green United Synagogue for allowing women to handle the Torah on Shabbat and holidays. In that synagogue, the Torah is taken out of the ark by a man and handed to a woman, who takes it around the women’s section before returning it to the men.

Mirvis recently supported the idea of women becoming trustees of the United Synagogue and lay leaders of synagogues, according to the Chronicle.

Hareidim Beat Out Hare Krishna in Measles Outbreak

Wednesday, December 11th, 2013

Of the 175 cases of measles in the U.S in 2013, a mere 23 were connected to Hare Krishnas in North Carolina. The 175 cases were triple the national average in previous years.

Embarrassingly enough, the largest group of people infected with measles came from our very own anti-vaccination cult of Brooklyn Hareidi Jews.

Thirty cases of measles were diagnosed in Williamsburg, and another 28 were diagnosed in Borough Park, accounting for one-third of the cases in the US in 2013. It was the largest measles outbreak in 15 years.

Talk about Jewish over-representation in the medical field.

The original outbreak came from a London ultra-Orthodox community, which also refuses to stop endangering everyone else. An intentionally unvaccinated Hareidi teenager brought the disease back with him to the US.

In July of 2013, the NYC Department of Health said that outbreak was over.

But it was hardly the only case. there was a measles outbreak in these communities in 2011.

And in 2010, another child brought back the Mumps with him from England, infecting fellow Jewish campers in upstate NY, who brought the disease home with them to Monsey and New Square, resulting in over 300 infected people.

 

Seventh Hanukkah Candle to Be Lit in Seven Nations Simultaneously

Monday, December 2nd, 2013

Immigrants to Israel from seven countries will light Hanukkah candles Tuesday night simultaneously with Jews in seven other countries in a ceremony organized by the Ministry of Immigration and Absorption and The Jewish Agency for Israel.

The candle lighting in Israel will take place at the Menachem Begin Heritage Center in Jerusalem, where 300 young olim  from France, Ethiopia, the United States, Yemen, Latvia, Latin America, and the Bnei Menashe community of India will be joined by Jews lighting at the same time in Paris, London, Moscow, Kiev, Tashkent and Budapest.

The event will be broadcast live  here at 3:30 p.m. Israel time (8:30 a.m. EST).

London Rabbi Suing Billionaire Philanthropist over Property Deal

Wednesday, November 20th, 2013

A Ukrainian billionaire living in London is being sued by his rabbi over a joint property venture.

Rabbi Yonah Pruss claims that he and Gennadiy Bogolyubov, a philanthropist who is involved in the Chabad movement, entered into a deal to find, purchase and manage investment properties in Britain along with a surveyor, Colin Gershinson, according to the Times of London.

Bogolyubov put up the money for the properties identified by Pruss, a Chabad rabbi, and Gershinson, the newspaper reported. Pruss and Gershinson were to share in the profits.

But the rabbi, who reportedly eased Bogolyubov’s way into London Jewish society, discovered that two of the most valuable properties were placed into trust for Bogolyubov and his family. Pruss and Gershinson are now demanding millions of dollars for their share of the deals.

A lawsuit has been filed in a lower court, according to The Independent, and Pruss has threatened to take the case to Britain’s High Court.

Britain: ‘A World Capital for Islamic Finance’

Thursday, October 31st, 2013

Originally published at Gatestone Institute.

The London Stock Exchange will be launching a new Islamic bond index in an effort to establish the City of London as one of the world’s leading centers of Islamic finance.

Britain also plans to become the first non-Muslim country to issue sovereign Islamic bonds, known as sukuk, beginning as early as 2014.

The plans are all part of the British government’s strategy to acquire as big a slice as possible of the fast-growing global market of Islamic finance, which operates according to Islamic Sharia law and is growing 50% faster than the conventional banking sector.

Although it is still a fraction of the global investment market — Sharia-compliant assets are estimated to make up only around 1% of the world’s financial assets — Islamic finance is expected to be worth £1.3 trillion (€1.5 trillion; $2 trillion) by 2014, a 150% increase from its value in 2006, according to the World Islamic Banking Competitiveness Report 2012-2013, published in May 2013 by the consultancy Ernst & Young.

But critics say that Britain’s ambitions to attract investments from Muslim countries, companies and individuals are spurring the gradual establishment of a parallel global financial system based on Islamic Sharia law.

British Prime Minister David Cameron announced the plans during a keynote speech at the ninth World Islamic Economic Forum, which was held in London from October 29-31, the first time the event has ever been held outside the Muslim world.

“Already London is the biggest center for Islamic finance outside the Islamic world,” Cameron told the audience of more than 1,800 international political and business leaders from over 115 countries.

“And today our ambition is to go further still. Because I don’t just want London to be a great capital of Islamic finance in the Western world, I want London to stand alongside Dubai and Kuala Lumpur as one of the great capitals of Islamic finance anywhere in the world.”

Cameron said the new Islamic bond index on the London Stock Exchange (LSE) would help stimulate fixed-income investments from Muslim investors — especially investors from oil-rich Persian Gulf countries — by helping them identify which listed companies adhere to Islamic principles.

Investors who practice Islamic finance — which is said to be structured to conform to a strict code of ethics based on the Koran and Sharia law — refuse to invest in companies that are linked to alcohol, gambling, pornography, tobacco, weapons or pork. Islamic finance also forbids collecting or paying interest and requires that deals be based on tangible assets.

Unlike conventional bonds, sukuk are described as investments rather than loans, with the initial payment made from an Islamic investor in the form of a tangible asset such as land. The lender of a sukuk earns money as profit from rent, as in real estate, rather than traditional interest.

Cameron says the British Treasury will issue £200 million (€235 million; $320 million) worth of sukuk as early as 2014. The objective is to enable the government to borrow from Muslim investors. The Treasury plans to issue fixed returns based on the profit made by a given asset, thereby allowing Muslims to invest without breaking Islamic laws forbidding interest-bearing bonds.

The Treasury also said some sukuk bond issues may require the British government to restrict its dealings with Israeli-owned companies in order to attract Muslim money.

Although Britain has already established itself as the leading secondary market for sukuk — the LSE has listed 49 sukuk bonds worth $34 billion during the past five years — such bonds have rarely been issued from local firms and never from the government.

“For years people have been talking about creating an Islamic bond, or sukuk, outside the Islamic world. But it’s never quite happened,” Cameron said. “Changing that is a question of pragmatism and political will. And here in Britain we’ve got both.”

According to Cameron, this “pragmatism and political will” is being influenced by the fact that Islamic finance is “already fundamental” to the success of the British economy. Indeed, it is.

Britain is already the leading Western center for Islamic financial and related professional services. It is a leading provider of Sharia-compliant finance, with reported assets of $19 billion, according to Islamic Finance 2013, a new report published by The City UK, a financial sector lobby group.

British Soccer Team Apologizes for Nazi-Style Picture

Monday, October 28th, 2013

Britain’s Manchester United soccer club, which has a large Jewish following, has sent an e-mail apology to its fans for an “unintended” offense from a graphic of a Swastika-style image under the headline “New Order,” a phrase identified with Hitler.

The graphic included the letters MUFC, Manchester United Football Club.

The club claimed that the term “New Order” related to the club’s band that has the same name, but it could not explain why the design of the graphic was in the form of a swastika.

“While the headline was intended to reference the band of the same name, it has been pointed out that the graphic had design similarities to a swastika which, combined with other connotations of the phrase ‘new order’, has caused offense which was entirely unintended,” according to a statement from Manchester United.

Manchester United’s media director David Sternberg tweeted to angry supporters, “The creative is completely inappropriate; we apologize unreservedly and are taking appropriate internal action.”

Anti-Semitism is not new in British soccer. The Tottenham soccer team, largely backed by Jewish money, has a relatively large Jewish following and has been a favorite target of anti-Semites, complete with Nazi salutes by opposing team fans, who also like to make hissing noises to sound like the gas chambers.

The term “yid” has been used so much that Tottenham’s own Jewish following began using the term as badge of honor, sparking a debate over a proposal that anyone should be arrested for shouting the word “Yid” from the stands.

The intellectual level of the anti-Semitic hobby of British soccer fans can be measured by last year’s statement by Brian Laws, the manager of the Scunthorpe United club, who described his team’s loss on the field “as bad as the Holocaust.”

The Board of Deputies of British Jews has denounced the anti-Semitism, saying that it “has no place in football or society in general.” It added, “For football fans to use Holocaust imagery and chants glorifying Adolf Hitler is grossly offensive to the Jewish community and is a stain upon the character of British football.”

The Board also has condemned the use of the word “Yid,” whether by Jewish or non-Jewish Tottenham fans.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/british-soccer-team-apologizes-for-nazi-style-picture/2013/10/28/

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