Huge turnout expected for national pro-Israel rally in Manchester

By Josh Jackman, January 14, 2016

A national pro-Israel rally supported by all the major communal organisations is expected to attract around 2,000 people when it takes place later this month.

The “Say No To Terror: Stand With Israel” event organised by the North West Friends of Israel (NWFOI) will be held in Manchester on January 31, as a response to recent terror attacks in the Jewish state.

There have been around 150 attacks since mid-September, resulting in the deaths of 21 Israelis and an American student.

The rally, to be held at the Sheridan Suite in the north-east of the city, has been supported by the Board of Deputies, Jewish Leadership Council, Zionist Federation, the Israeli embassy and Sussex Friends of Israel, as well as grassroots groups in Scotland and around Britain.

Board president Jonathan Arkush will be speaking at the event, which the Board will help to fund. Mr Arkush said: “I was among the first to accept an invitation to speak at the Manchester rally.

"I am always pleased to support communal events in support of Israel and am very much looking forward to attending.”

NWFOI co-chair Raphi Bloom said he was delighted that his organisation had attracted endorsements from across the community, and that the demonstration would take place in his home city.

“Similar rallies of this type have been held in London in the past, so we’re very proud that Manchester is now hosting a national rally.

“The Zionist Federation will hopefully organise buses to bring people in from around the country; we hope to have lots of Christian groups there; we have support from the Scottish Friends of Israel groups, from Stand With Us - it's a cross-communal rally in which all the big organisations are stakeholders.”

He also reported that the rally had the backing of Chief Rabbi Epraim Mirvis, although he will be unable to attend as he will be out of the country at the time.

ZF chairman Paul Charney said: “As home to both Chaim Weizmann - perhaps Britain’s greatest Zionist - and one of the largest Jewish communities in the UK, it’s fitting that this rally is happening in Manchester.”

Last updated: 5:01pm, January 18 2016