Former Northern Irish First Minister Rev Ian Paisley was among the speakers at the inaugural meeting of the Northern Ireland Friends of Israel last Thursday at the Stormont parliament building.
Mr Paisley spoke of his ties to Israel and, on the domestic front, expressed revulsion at the killings of two soldiers and a policeman by Republican extremists. A minute’s silence was observed for the victims.
A larger than anticipated audience of 200, including political representatives from across the party spectrum, was also addressed by Lord Steinberg, Board of Deputies president Henry Grunwald and the Israel Embassy’s Talya Lador-Fresher. The latter gave a summary of the political situation in Israel and the challenges ahead in the peace process. She also took questions on issues including the Israeli election outcome and campus hostility towards Israel.
Steven Jaffe — who organised the launch with trade union activist Terry McCorran — said afterwards: “We were delighted at the turnout and depth of support. It is a testament to a people who understand the very real bloody blight that terrorism causes. We will be organising more meetings and mobilising our support to ensure that Israel’s voice is heard loud and clear across the country.”