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New Israeli Ambassador to the UK Tzipi Hatovely said she aims to ask Prime Minister Boris Johnson to move the British Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

In her first media interview since becoming ambassador, Hatovely told the Jewish Chronicle: “I think all embassies should be located in Jerusalem.”

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The former Israeli Settlements Minister also criticized the British Foreign Office’s use of the term “Occupied Palestinian Territories,” adding that settlements “are legal according to international law.”

 

Coronavirus Causes Havoc

The coronavirus pandemic has had a devastating financial and mental effect on British Jewry.

Three-quarters of those surveyed by the Jewish business support organization Work Avenue reported that their employment or business had been adversely affected by the pandemic and more than half the respondents said they had suffered mentally.

Meanwhile, one Golders Green, London, congregation is considering selling its new building because of the “very precarious position” of its finances due to the pandemic. The Sephardi Beth Hamedrash Knesset Yehezkel, under the leadership of Rabbi Aharon Bassous, only moved into its new building last year, but the lockdown has prevented the building – especially its function hall – from being fully used.

In other coronavirus news, pupils at London’s Jewish Community Secondary School have been forced back to the classroom after the school had decided to move lessons online for the last week of the term because of the surge of coronavirus cases in the area.

The school said on Monday, “The Schools Minister advised us…that these remote learning plans do not comply with the government’s aim to have on-site learning every day of the term for all students who are able to attend.”

 

Labour Acts in Face of Anti-Semitism Charge

The Labour Party’s National Executive Committee approved a draft action plan to submit to the Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) following the EHRC’s criticism of anti-Semitism within the Labour Party.

The plan details how new Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer hopes to live up to his pledge of following a policy of zero tolerance of anti-Semitism in Labour and introducing training sessions on anti-Semitism.

 

Car Accident Sends Five to Hospital

Five people were rushed to hospital after a car mounted a pavement on Friday morning in a busy shopping area in the London Jewish district of Stamford Hill.

Shomrim president Rabbi Herschel Gluck told the Jewish Press, “It was a tragic road accident, nothing more. I hear that all the injured are recovering.”

 

Coroner Discover Century-Old Shul… in Prison

A Jewish coroner in the Isle of Wight has discovered a disused synagogue in the island’s high security jail, HMP Pankhurst.

Senior coroner Caroline Sumeray found the shul in a former well house in the prison grounds. In the 1890s, according to newspaper articles from the time, there were apparently so many Jews in the prison that a United Synagogue rabbi used to conduct services.

Sumeray said, “I had never been aware of an English prison where there are so many Jewish prisoners that they can get a minyan together and require a rabbi for services.”

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Doreen Wachmann served as a senior reporter and columnist for Britain’s Jewish Telegraph newspaper for more than 20 years.