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Orthodox Jews win battle for enclave

BRITAIN IS to have its first eruv - a notional religious boundary within which Orthodox Jews can do various basic functions otherwise forbidden on the Sabbath.

At the end of a six-year campaign, members of the strict Orthodox wing of London Jewry this week won the right to erect 87 poles at 39 locations in north London. A circuit of 1,042 yards of fine nylon line will be hung from the poles, marking the 6.5 square mile inner sanctuary.

The eruv can only be understood in the context of the Sabbath, the cornerstone of Jewish life. Jewish law distinguishes between the public and private domain and the carrying of any items on the Sabbath from one domain to another is prohibited. The purpose of the eruv - the Hebrew word for "mixture" - is to effectively mix up public and private domains, lifting this restriction.

Barnet Council removed the final hurdle for the eruv on Tuesday, granting a licence by a vote of 13 to one. It should be in place within six months

Opponents argue that the structure will put people's lives at risk.

There are 200 eruvs worldwide. The White House in Washington stands in an eruv.