David Cameron was the first to respond to Reform Judaism head Rabbi Tony Bayfield’s request for the three party leaders to address the community.
Telling Rabbi Bayfield that he had “many friends on the mailing list” of the newsletter where his response was published, Mr Cameron joked that “this might be the last they hear from me for a few weeks!”
Mr Cameron, who launched the Conservative manifesto at Battersea Power Station in London today, spoke of his delight when he learnt about his Jewish ancestors, the Levitas.
He wrote: “I am a great admirer of the Jewish people and your extraordinary achievements. I’ve long seen your community as a shining light in our society.”
Mr Cameron pledged to tackle the rise in antisemitism in Britain. He said: “I was appalled when the Community Security Trust told me that there were more antisemitic incidents in the first half of 2009 than in the whole of any previous year.
“We need big changes to root out this extremism – stopping preachers of hate from entering this country, banning those extremist groups who are already here, and doing much more to tackle radicalisation in our universities.”
He also stressed his commitment to faith schools and promised that a Conservative government would do “much more to protect and empower the Jewish community in our society”.
The responses of the Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg will be published before the election on May 6.