Hundreds gather at London vigil for murdered teenagers

By Daniel Easterman, July 2, 2014
(Photo: Daniel Easterman)

(Photo: Daniel Easterman)

Hundreds of people gathered for a candlelit vigil outside the Israeli embassy on Wednesday night to express their solidarity with the bereaved families of the three Israeli teenagers who were kidnapped and killed in the West Bank.

Representatives of major communal organisations were present, including the Jewish Leadership Council, the Board of Deputies, UJIA and the Zionist Federation.

Addressing the crowd of more than 600 people, Israeli Ambassador Daniel Taub said: “Even in a region where violence is so prevalent, even in a country where our history is filled with so many tragedies, we are shocked.

“But even as we are shocked, we are proud. Proud of the dignity and nobility of these three families, selected by terrorists because they were ordinary Israelis, but who have shown through their courage and sensitivity how extraordinary they are.”

Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis told the gathering that he hoped Israel’s leaders would look up to the heavens towards God for guidance and wisdom in the days and weeks ahead.

Israeli ambassador Daniel Taub addresses the crowd (Photo: Daniel Easterman)

Israeli ambassador Daniel Taub addresses the crowd (Photo: Daniel Easterman)

He said: “Our challenge is to transform hatred into love and to show that only unity and harmony among different peoples can take us forward in a meaningful and constructive way.

“In the midst of deep grief, may God guide us along the route of hope, to the stability and security which will underpin the right of innocent men, women and children, to live their lives in peace.”

The Chief Rabbi will lead a community learning session tomorrow evening in memory of the murdered teenagers.

Rabbi for the Reform Movement, Laura Janner-Klausner said: “Exactly a week ago, I met Eyal Yifrach’s brother Asaf in London – I said – we’re with you. We are – whether in London, in Britain or throughout the world. We’re with you and we always will be.”

Naomi Daniel, 20 from Netanya in Northern Israel, who is doing her year’s national service volunteering in the UK told the JC afterwards that she felt real emotion during the vigil. “There is a strong connection between Jews here in England and Israel,” she said. "The Jewish people are very unique in this way.”

Last updated: 1:49pm, July 3 2014