In the Company of Sir Herbert Samuel

The accusation that British Ambassador to Israel, Matthew Gould, holds dual loyalties is not new to British politics. In November 1919, on the second anniversary of the Balfour Declaration, Sir Herbert Samuel, told an audience at the London Opera House that he hoped for “a self-governing commonwealth under the auspices of an established Jewish majority.” … Read more

On Isaac Newman

In 1970 the Jewish community in Britain initiated the first programme to train Jewish Studies teachers in the UK. An agreement had been reached between Jews’ College and Trent Park Teachers Training College in North West London. Any euphoria, however, was quickly dissipated. As with all new courses, the aspirational skills of the initiators far … Read more

SOAS, Tories and Libya

Is contact with a foreign university the same as support for the regime? The essentially Trotskyist boycotters of Israeli academic institutions certainly believe so. But so does Student Rights, associated with the Henry Jackson Society think-tank, which has attacked SOAS for agreeing to teach students a master’s degree in Finance at Tripoli’s Al Fatah University … Read more

Arieh, the Last Witness

Arieh Handler was known to generations of British Jews for his intensive contribution to communal life, from founding Bnei Akiva in the 1930s to campaigning for Soviet Jewry in the 1980s. Yet his proudest moment was listening to Ben-Gurion reading out the Declaration of the State of Israel in Tel Aviv on May 14 1948. … Read more

Anna Finchas 2

Anna Finchas born Letchworth 11 April 1950 died Edgware 17 November 2010 Anna Finchas belonged to that undeclared tradition of Jewish women who hold the fabric of Jewish life together. Such people remain quietly in the background, doing good deeds and repairing the world. Following a diagnosis of breast cancer at the age of 32, … Read more

Anna Finchas 1

Em Habanim   An evening of chizuk took place last week to remember Mrs Anna Finchas o”h at the Edgware Adath Yisroel synagogue. The evening was in aid of Em Habanim, Jerusalem’s support centre for orthodox single mothers and their children. Mrs. F. Frank introduced the proceedings and recalled the quiet yet influential presence that … Read more

Anna Finchas 3

Anna Finchas My sister-in-law, Anna Finchas, who has died of cancer, aged 60, was an unusual combination of conceptual artist and ultra-orthodox Jew. She once commented: ‘I don’t see myself as a Jewish artist or as an Orthodox artist or as a woman artist. You don’t have to be Jewish to understand my work; I … Read more

The Arab-Israeli Conflict: a History

Ian J. Bickerton, The Arab-Israeli Conflict: a History Published by Reaktion Books (London 2009), pp. 244, price £15.95   This is a broad and familiar narrative of the Israel-Palestine conflict. The author believes that violence has not solved anything and argues concisely that only concerted diplomacy will bring results. While this is clearly logical and … Read more