The Board of Deputies and the UJIA have joined a new task force to promote greater interest in Israel’s Arab citizens.
Other founding members of the group are the Pears Foundation, the Zionist Federation, the New Israel Fund and the Abraham Fund Initiatives UK.
Trevor Pears, executive chairman of the Pears Foundation and co-chair of the group with Douglas Krikler, UJIA chief executive, explained: “Our foundation has focused on this issue since the symposium we hosted on the subject in 2007. Since then, interest has grown culminating in the UK Taskforce.”
He said: “According to senior Israeli figures, including Supreme Court Judge Theodore Or, author of the Or Commission Report, this is the most important domestic issue facing Israel. Therefore for those who are concerned about Israel’s stability, prosperity and security, we must find meaningful ways to engage.”
Members of the task force highlight the commitment in Israel’s Declaration of Independence to social and political equality for all the country’s inhabitants.
Mr Pears said the project would result in increased education about Israel’s Arab citizens and fact-finding missions to areas where they live.
“Our partners at the North American Inter-Agency Task Force on Israeli Arab issues are planning a visit to Israel in May next year and there will be opportunities for a British contingent to join them,” he said.
“We also envisage an increase in events and meetings on the subject.”
Brian Lurie and Steve Schwager, leaders of the group, said they looked forward to “working alongside our British colleagues to further the mission of educating our communities on the most pressing domestic issue facing Israel today — Jewish-Arab relations in Israel.
“Now is the time for bold leadership and our hat goes off to you for taking the lead in the UK.”