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Joe Castello was born in 1939.

He graduated in
Pharmacy and created a small chain of pharmacies. He
is now part of a family business that is focussed on
bars and restaurants.
He was active in rugby, judo and skiing until common
sense prevailed. He still plays in a 9-piece jazz and
blues band. He has a son who is diabetic.

Joe Castello



Copyright Joe Castello

The right of Joe Castello to be identified as author of this work
has been asserted by him in accordance with section 77 and 78 of
the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be
reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any
form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying,
recording, or otherwise, without the prior permission of the
Any person who commits any unauthorized act in relation to this
publication may be liable to criminal prosecution and civil claims
for damages.
A CIP catalogue record for this title is available from the British

ISBN 9781849638524
First Published (2014)
Austin Macauley Publishers Ltd.
25 Canada Square
Canary Wharf
E14 5LB

Much of the text for part of this publication was taken from the
superbly written book by Steven Silbiger.
The cover design was kindly donated by:
The cover image was kindly donated by:


1 History of the Jews
2 Palestine
3 The State of Israel
4 The 7 Keys to Success
5 Russian Oligarchs
6 Academia
7 Arts
8 Banking
9 Commerce
10 Law
11 Politics
12 Show Business
13 Sport
14 Criminals

This project began in 2010 when the author read in a news
magazine that the global population of Jews was only about 13
million. This amazingly small population and its ancestors
have had the most impressive impact on the world stage by
virtue of its high achievers.
For example, the number of Jewish Nobel prize winners is
far out of proportion to the percentage of Jews in the world
This project has been written in England to list and profile
mostly household names who have achieved either in
England or on the global stage.
The author is a Gentile who has made considerable efforts
to maintain a level of accuracy regarding the information set
out below. The book is aimed not at Jewish people, but at other
inquisitive Gentiles.
There will obviously be a huge number of omissions in the
directory, and these deficiencies may possibly be corrected in
subsequent editions.
If there are any inaccurate inclusions, it follows that their
removal will be effected in subsequent editions.
The information for this project was largely drawn from:

The weekly magazine The Week
The Jewish Phenomenon by Steven Silbiger
The Encyclopaedia Britannica
The Explore travel book

During the authors 1993 visit to Israel, he travelled to Old

Jerusalem and all its surrounding highlights. These included
the Western (Wailing) Wall, the Dome of the Rock, the
Mosque of Omar, the Holy Sepulchre, YadVashem, the

Knesset, Mea Shearim, the Mount of Olives and the Garden of

Gethsemane; then on to Bethlehem in the West Bank where he
visited Rachels Tomb. Other highlights of the trip included,
Qumran and EinGedi on the Dead Sea, Massada, Jericho,
Megiddo, the River Jordan, Tiberias, Capernicum, Nazareth,
the Lebanese border, Akko the Crusader capital, Ceaseria (the
Roman capital), and Tel Aviv.
This title, together with others in The Joe Public Guide
series, is available via

History of the Jews

The Jewish people are a nation and ethno religious group,

originating from the Israelites or Hebrews of the Ancient Near
Jewish ethnicity, nationality, culture and religion are
strongly interrelated, as Judaism is the traditional faith of the
Jewish nation.
Jews routinely study:

The Torah (their Bible, which is the first 5 books of

the Old Testament)
The Talmud (the rabbinical commentaries)
The Mishna (books of codified Jewish laws for daily

The Bible documents three historical episodes of peril, and

how the Jews survived. In each case, Jewish holidays
commemorate these trials and their happy resolution with the
help of God.
These three major Jewish holidays are:


They annually remind Jews that they need to be on their

guard and self-sufficient.
According to Jewish tradition and the Hebrew Bible,
Jewish ancestry is traced to the Biblical patriarchs Abraham,
Isaac and Jacob, to whom God gave the name Israel, in about

Other major Jewish holidays include:

Rosh Hashana the Jewish New Year

Yom Kippur the Day of Atonement
Sukkot the Feast of Tabernacles
Shemini Atzeret the Eighth Day of Assembly
Simchat Torah day of celebrating the Torah
Shavuot Festival of Weeks
TishaBAv fast commemorating the destruction of
the two temples

The name Israel was given by God to Jacob, whose

descendants (via his 12 sons) became known as the people of
Israel, whose territory became known as the Land of Israel.
It is claimed that all Israelites were descended from
Abraham, who was born in the Sumerian city of Ur, and
migrated to Canaan (commonly known as the Land of Israel)
with his family.
Part of the fundamental belief system of Jews is based on
the story of Moses, which goes something like this.
According to the Book of Exodus, Moses was born in a
time when the Jews were increasing in numbers, and the
Egyptian Pharaoh was worried that they might help Egypts
enemies. Mosess Hebrew mother hid him in a basket in the
rivers rushes when the Pharaoh ordered all new born Hebrew
boys to be killed. He was later found and luckily adopted by
the Egyptian royal family. After killing an Egyptian slave
master, Moses fled across the Red Sea where he encountered
the God of Israel in the form of a burning bush.
God then sent Moses back to Egypt to request the release
of the Israelites. His request was granted, so he then led the
Exodus of the Jews out of Egypt and across the Red Sea, after
which they based themselves at Mount Sinai, where Moses
received the Ten Commandments from God.
After 40 years of wandering in the desert, Moses died
within sight of the Promised Land. He is traditionally
attributed with the authorship of the Torah, and is regarded as

an important prophet in Christianity and Islam as well as a

number of other faiths.
The existence of Moses as well as the veracity of the
Exodus story are disputed amongst historians, archaeologists
and Egyptologists
Genetic studies on Jews show that most Jews worldwide do
indeed bear a common genetic heritage which originates some
3,000 years ago in the Middle East, and that their strongest
resemblance is to the peoples of the Fertile Crescent, with only
a minor contribution from their host populations. This situation
would have been exacerbated by the historic taboo on
intermarriage within the Jewish tradition, the low number of
converts to Judaism, as well as the general isolations and
persecutions of Jews throughout history. It was confirmed,
however, in 2003 by the Jewish-American biologist Robert
Pollack, that there is simply no DNA sequence present in Jews
that is absent in non-Jews.
The Jews currently enjoy political autonomy in the State of
Israel, an independent state which is located in their national
homeland, the Land of Israel.
Israel officially defines itself as a Jewish state in its Basic
Laws, and is the only country in the world where Jews
constitute the majority of the population.
Jews had also previously experienced political autonomy
twice during ancient history.
Except for the modern State of Israel, Jews are a minority
in every country in which they live, and they have frequently
experienced persecution throughout history, resulting in a
population that fluctuated both in numbers and distribution
over the centuries.
This distribution and dispersal of Jews began about 1,000
years BC and is called the Diaspora.
In 2010, the world Jewish population was estimated at 13.4
million by the North American Jewish Data Bank, or roughly
0.2% of the total world population.

According to this report, about 42% of all Jews reside in

Israel, and about 42% in the United States and Canada, with
most of the remainder living in Europe.
The total world Jewish population, however, is difficult to
In addition to issues with census methodology, there are
halakhic disputes regarding who is a Jew, because secular,
political, and ancestral identification factors, may affect the
figure considerably.
Judaism guides its adherents in both practice and belief,
and has been called not only a religion, but also a way of life,
which has made drawing a clear distinction between Judaism,
Jewish culture, and Jewish identity rather difficult.
It follows that Judaism shares some of the characteristics
of a nation, an ethnicity, a religion, and a culture, making the
definition of who is a Jew vary slightly, depending on whether
a religious or national approach to identity is used.
Generally in modern secular usage, Jews include three


People who were born to a Jewish family regardless

of whether they follow the religion;
Those who have some Jewish ancestral background
or lineage (sometimes including those who do not
have strictly matrilineal descent);
People without any Jewish ancestral background or
lineage who have formally converted to Judaism and
therefore follow the religion.

Historical definitions of Jewish identity have traditionally

been based on halakhic definitions of the absolute
requirement of matrilineal (mother) descent, or alternatively
having had a halakhic conversion.
There have always been warnings against intermarriage
between Jews and non-Jews.
The Bible also states that the son born in a marriage
between a Hebrew woman and an Egyptian man is of the
community of Israel.

Within the worlds Jewish population there are distinct

ethnic divisions, most of which are primarily as a result of
geographic branching from the originating Israelite population,
and subsequent independent evolutions.
Jews are often identified as belonging to one of two major

The Ashkenazim, or Germanics;

The Sephardim or Hispanics.

The Mizrahim, or Easterners, that comprise the diverse

collection of Middle Eastern and North African Jews,
constitute a third major group, although they are sometimes
termed Sephardi for liturgical reasons.
Despite this diversity, Ashkenazi Jews represent the bulk
of modern Jewry, with at least 70% of Jews worldwide (and up
to 90% prior to World War 2 and the Holocaust). As a result of
their emigration from Europe, Ashkenazim also represent the
overwhelming majority of Jews in the New World continents,
in countries such as the United States, Canada, Argentina,
Australia, and Brazil.
Sabra Jews are those who are born in Israel.
Only in Israel is the Jewish population representative of all
groups, a melting pot, independent of each groups proportion
within the overall world Jewish population.
Regarding language, Hebrew is the liturgical language of
Judaism, the language in which the Hebrew Scriptures were
composed, and the daily speech of the Jewish people for
centuries. Modern Hebrew is now one of the two official
languages of the State of Israel, along with Arabic.
Yiddish is the Judaeo-German language developed by the
Ashkenazi who migrated to Central Europe, and has been
spoken by more Jews in history than any other language.
The three most commonly spoken languages amongst Jews
today are Hebrew, English and Russian.
Israel was established as an independent democratic and
Jewish state on 14 May 1948.

The early years of the state were marked by the mass

immigration of Holocaust survivors and Jews fleeing from
Arab lands. Israel also has a large population of Ethiopian
Jews, many of whom were airlifted to Israel in the late 1980s
and early 1990s. A significant number also arrived from the
USSR where they had suffered the pogroms. Obviously there
has also been a degree of immigration from most other
countries which are included in the Diaspora, including the
Conversely, some Jews have emigrated from Israel to
elsewhere, due to economic problems or disillusionment with
political conditions and the continuing Arab-Israeli conflict.
Jewish Israeli emigrants are known as yordim.
Assimilation has proved to be a problem for the Jews over
the centuries. Since at least the time of the ancient Greeks, a
proportion of them have assimilated into the wider non-Jewish
society around them, by either choice or force, ceasing to
practice Judaism and losing their Jewish identity. The result
has been a growing trend of assimilation as Jews marry nonJewish spouses, and stop participating in the Jewish
Rates of interreligious marriage have been estimated to be
just under 50% in the United States, and just over 50% in the
UK. In the USA, it is also estimated that only about a third of
children from intermarriages affiliate themselves with Jewish
religious practice. The result is that most countries in the
Diaspora have steady or slightly declining religiously Jewish
populations, as Jews continue to assimilate into the countries
in which they live.
The Jewish people and Judaism have experienced various
persecutions throughout history and these persecutions have
prompted the various migrations. Some, but not all, of these
are listed below:

The pagan Roman Empire ejected the Jews from

their homelands. This dispersion was the beginning
of the Diaspora which lasted for some 2,000 years

The Christian Roman Empire established them as

second-class citizens
During the Crusades of around 1100 AD, Jews were
massacred all over Germany
Expulsions from England (1290), France (1396) and
Austria/Germany (1421)
Expulsions from Spain (1492), Sicily (1493) and
Portugal (1496). In most of these European countries
where they were forced to live in ghettos, Jews were
not permitted to own their own land and were barred
from trade. For these reasons they resorted to
In the Papal States, which existed until 1870, Jews
were required to live only in specified
neighbourhoods called ghettos
Islam and Judaism have had a complex relationship.
Traditionally, Jews and other non-Muslims living in
Muslim lands were allowed to practice their
religions and to administer their internal affairs, by
paying a per capita tax on all free adult nonMuslims, to the Islamic State. Whilst they had
inferior status, these non-Muslims were mostly free
in their choice of residence and profession
Jews were massacred by the Cossacks in Ukraine
The pogroms in Russia were backed by the Tsars
In 1938, the anti-Semitic reign of terror in Nazi
Germany came to a head in the form of The
Kristallnacht (Night of Broken Glass). Synagogues
and Jewish shops were wrecked, burned, and looted.
Many Jews were brutally murdered and thousands
more were rounded up to join those already in
prison. This ongoing persecution reached a peak in
Adolf Hitlers Final Solution, which led to the
Holocaust and the slaughter of approximately 6
million Jews from 1939 to 1945. This is all well
chronicled in Yad Vishem in Jerusalem. The
persecution and genocide were accomplished in

stages. Legislation to remove the Jews from civil

society was enacted years before the outbreak of
World War 2. Concentration camps were established
in which inmates were used as slave labour until
they died of exhaustion or disease. Jews and Roma
were crammed into ghettos before being transported
hundreds of miles by freight train to extermination
camps where, if they survived the journey, the
majority of them were killed in gas chambers.
Virtually every arm of Germanys bureaucracy was
involved in the logistics of this mass murder.
In the Diaspora, in almost every country, the Jewish
population in general is either declining or steady, but
Orthodox and Haredi Jewish communities, whose members
often shun birth control for religious reasons, have experienced
rapid population growth.
Orthodox and Conservative Judaism discourage efforts to
convert non-Jews, but many Jewish groups have tried to reach
out to the assimilated Jewish communities of the Diaspora in
order for them to reconnect to their Jewish roots.
Additionally, whilst in principle, Reform Judaism favours
seeking new members for the faith, this position has not
translated into active attempts to convert gentiles generally,
instead taking the form of an effort to reach out to non-Jewish
spouses of intermarried couples.
There is also a trend of Orthodox movements pursuing
secular Jews in order to give them a stronger Jewish identity so
that there is less chance of intermarriage. As a result of the
efforts made by these and other Jewish groups over the last 25
years, there has been a trend of secular Jews becoming more
religiously observant. This demographic trend is hard to
Having mentioned Haredi Jews, it is appropriate to give more
details regarding this most orthodox form of Orthodox
Judaism, which is often referred to as ultra-Orthodox.

Haredi Jews consider their belief system and religious

practices to extend in an unbroken chain back to Moses and the
giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai. They regard nonOrthodox, and to an extent Modern Orthodox streams of
Judaism, to be deviations from authentic Judaism. The
historical rejection of Enlightenment values, distinguishes
Haredi Judaism from Western European-derived Modern
Orthodox Judaism.
Haredi Judaism is not a cohesive or homogeneous group,
but comprises a diversity of spiritual and cultural orientations
which are generally divided into a broad range of:

Hasidic sects, of which there are more than 30 larger

groups and numerous smaller ones
Lithuanian-Yeshivish streams from Eastern Europe
Oriental Sephardic Haredim

These groups often differ significantly from one another


Their specific ideologies and lifestyles

Their degree of stringency in religious practice
Their rigidity of religious philosophy
Their isolation of the general culture they maintain

Haredim are currently primarily located in Israel, North

America and Western Europe. The population is growing very
rapidly due to the high birth rate, and doubles every 12-20
years. There are no accurate statistics, but it has been estimated
that in 2011, there were about 1.3 million Haredi Jews. It has
been observed that this prolific breeding from within a small
gene pool, can produce problems that include such things as
defective eyesight. The vast majority of Haredi Jews are
The Haredi community has gained growing media interest,
in particular on the issue of sex segregation in Israel and New
Looking back at history before the emancipation of
European Jewry, most of Europes Jews were forced to live in

closed communities or ghettos, where both their culture and

their religious observances were preserved. This occurred
because the Jews did not want to change, and the outside world
refused to accept them unless they did so. In the mainly
Christian society of the time, the only way for Jews to gain
social acceptance was to convert. The options were therefore
polarised between converting on the one hand, or retaining
traditional Jewish values on the other. As a result of this bleak
choice, there emerged a third way. This option was for Jews
themselves to reform to an extent that they would be
accepted by the world at large. In the words of the popular
aphorism coined by Yehuda Leib Gordon, a person should be
a Jew in the home, and a mentsh in the street. Those who
joined this reform movement overwhelmingly assimilated into
the surrounding culture. Those who refused to reform, believed
that to dilute Judaism would be the thin end of the wedge, and
the slippery slope to obscurity. It was this group, who had no
desire or intention to assimilate into the wider world, who
formed the origins of the Haredi faction.
Jewish law, known as Halacha, is a guide for everything
the traditional Jew does from the moment of awakening until
the moment of sleep. It is a set of intricate laws, combined
with logical explanations of the reasoning behind each law.
Most of these are customs that have been handed down over
the centuries. There have been some significant adaptations
over the years in order to account for social changes, such as
womens education, and the impact of modern inventions.
Haredim have typically been more conservative regarding
these adaptations than their Modern Orthodox counterparts.
Haredi life is very family orientated. Depending on various
factors, boys and girls attend separate schools and proceed to
higher Torah study. At all stages of life, the Torah plays a
central and dominant role. Families tend to be large, reflecting
adherence to the Torah commandment be fruitful and
Haredi rabbis generally recommend very strongly against
watching TV and films, reading secular newspapers, and using
the internet without filters that block such things as

pornography. Some Haredi publications have a policy of not

publishing photographs of women. They either blank them out,
or digitally alter them to appear as men. This happened in one
newspaper in 2009 when showing a photo of the newly
installed Israeli cabinet, which included two women.
Many Haredim view their manner of dress as an important
way to ensure that Jewish identity and distinctiveness are
maintained. Many men have beards and sidelocks, most dress
in dark suits with a white shirt, and wear a wide brimmed hat
(typically black) during prayer and whilst outside. They also
usually wear a black Kippah (skull cap) at all times. Hasidic
men often follow the specific dress style of their own group,
which may include long jackets or coats. Whatever the detail
of their dress, they are very distinctive in appearance. Women
adhere to meticulous standards of modesty, hence the long
skirts, long sleeves, high necklines and some form of head
covering if married. This may include a wig.
The Haredi community in Israel has adopted a policy of
cultural separation. At the same time it has made an effort to
be politically active, because it perceives itself to be the true
protector of the countrys Jewish nature.
When Zionism was on the rise in the early 1900s, it was
opposed by the vast majority of Haredi Jews for a number of
reasons. Chief amongst these was the claim that Jewish
political independence could only be obtained through Divine
intervention, with the coming of the Messiah. Any attempt to
force history was seen as open rebellion against Judaism.
Mutual recriminations have existed ever since. To Zionists,
Haredi Jews were seen as primitives or parasites. To Haredi
Jews, the socialist and secular Zionists were seen as
tyrannizing heretics. This culture clash and uneasy alliance still
pervades Israeli society today. Even the Haredi Jews, however,
are not united, as some cooperate with the State of Israel,
whilst others are totally opposed to it. All this goes to show
how fragmented Israeli society is.
Haredim have a separate education system in Israel, where
there is strong emphasis on Jewish studies. These schools are
partly supported by the state but have traditionally been

supplemented by donations from outside Israel, particularly the

United States. The Haredims lack of mainstream education,
and consequent low participation in the workforce, is regarded
by many in Israel as a social problem. In 2012, the Council for
Higher Education announced that it was making a considerable
investment over a five year period in order to overcome this.
In 1948, during the birth of Israel, about 400 Haredi
scholars were exempt from compulsory military service so that
they could pursue their studies. The arrangement allowed
Haredi young men, whose main occupation was Torah study,
to delay conscription or to avoid it altogether. The number of
people exempted has grown hugely, and this is resented by
some Israelis who are subject to conscription. As a result, this
whole arrangement is under constant debate and review. There
has been considerable antagonism and animosity from many
secular Israelis, regarding the military issue, the state benefit
issue, and the sex segregation issue on buses, which surround
Haredi Jews. Even in 2012, the position of Haredim in society
is hotly debated.
The Haredim are relatively poor compared to other
Israelis. This is partly because of their devotion to their formal
religious studies, which in turn reduces their time for working
and earning. More than 50 % are below the poverty line, and
get state allowances. This compares with 15 % for the rest of
the population. Their families are also larger, usually having 67 children, which naturally increases their voting strength.
There is still no single governing body for the Jewish
community, nor a single authority with responsibility for
religious doctrine. Instead, a variety of secular and religious
institutions at the local, national and international levels, lead
various parts of the Jewish community on a variety of issues.
When one considers that there is the ultra-orthodox
faction, which also has subdivisions, as well as the Orthodox,
reform, liberal, progressive and secular factions that are also
subdivided, it becomes very apparent how the Jewish Diaspora
is truly fragmented.

It is interesting to note that the largest section of the Jewish

Diaspora (about 50 %), describe themselves as secular. Even in
Israel, the majority of Jews live secular lives, whereby they
celebrate their culture and history, without linking it to prayer
and religion.
There are numerous traditions within Judaism, but three
that are interesting are:

Jewish baby boys are ritualistically circumcised

when they reach 8 days old
Many Jews will only eat kosher food. Kosher foods
are those that conform to the precise regulations of
Jewish dietary law. This includes not being able to
eat food from non-kosher animals such as pig and
hare. It is also forbidden to eat animals that were not
slaughtered in the ritually proper manner. These
complicated rituals include the need for the animal
to have its throat cut by one simple cut, so that the
animal then bleeds to death. This cut must be
administered by a suitably qualified person. It is also
forbidden to use non-kosher cooking utensils.
Having said this, the regulations can be relaxed and
exceptions can be made when human life is at stake
The Jewish Sabbath is a day of rest which is called
Shabbat in Hebrew. It begins on Friday evening and
ends on Saturday evening. The limitations on lifestyle that are self-imposed, depend on whether the
adherent is ultra-orthodox, Orthodox, reform, liberal,
progressive or secular in their belief.

At this point, it may be appropriate to briefly mention

Kabbalah. This is an esoteric method, discipline and school of
thought, which has its religious origin as an integral part of
Judaism. It is not a religious denomination in itself, but inside
Judaism it forms the foundations of mystical religious

Kabbalah originally developed entirely within the realm of

Jewish thought and Kabbalists often use classical Jewish
sources to explain and demonstrate esoteric teachings.
Kabbalah is considered by its followers as a necessary part
of the study of Torah, which is an inherent duty of observant
Jews. It teaches doctrines that are accepted by some Jews as
the true meaning of Judaism, whilst other Jews have rejected
these doctrines as heretical to Judaism.
The point of this section is merely to record that there is a
fundamental link between Judaism and Kabbalah.

The problems associated with Palestine emanate from two
conflicting historical claims. And whilst wanting to be both
objective and balanced in relating the course of events, any
commentary will need to tread gingerly through the minefield
of emotions.
The Jewish claim is based on their belief that God
promised them the area from the River Nile to the River
Euphrates, called the Promised Land, over 1,000 years before
the birth of Christ. This area is of course much larger than the
current State of Israel.
Incidentally, the area between the River Tigris and the
River Euphrates is known as Mesopotamia.
The Arab claim is based on the fact that from 635 AD till
1917, and therefore for over 13 centuries, the area of Palestine
had been dominated, controlled and inhabited mainly by Arab
The problem was created, as the Jewish writer Arthur
Koestler wryly commented, when One nation solemnly
promised a second nation the territory of a third.
The area is also known as the Holy Land, being Holy for
all Abrahamic religions including Judaism, Christianity, Islam
and the Bahai Faith.
According to Alexander Scholch, the population of
Palestine in 1850 was about 350,000. Of these, roughly 85%
were Sunni Muslims and 4% were Jews.
By 1948, the population was estimated to be about
1,900,000, of whom 68% were Arab and 32% were Jews.
In 2012, of the slightly less than 8,000,000 population, it is
estimated that about 20 % were Arabs, whilst 80% were Jews.
To the Palestinian people who view Palestine as their
homeland, its boundaries are those of Mandate Palestine,