The British ambassador to Israel has called on Britain’s Jewish community to dig deep to help combat loneliness amongst Holocaust survivors.
In a joint appeal with outgoing Israeli ambassador to Britain Ron Prosor, Matthew Gould said that while the Israeli government played its part in supporting the estimated 210,000 survivors living there, there were still gaps in the provision.
The diplomats said: "The single biggest hardship the survivors face is loneliness. Many survivors just do not have friends or family or anywhere to go for company with people who understand."
They urged British people to help raise £2 million needed to set up social clubs which would provide for some 1,500 survivors. A tenth of any money raised will be given to Jewish Care for similar support programmes in Britain.
The pair launched the campaign to coincide with Israel’s annual day of national Holocaust remembrance, Yom ha’Shoah.
They added: “We are asking every Jewish community in Britain to raise money toward the target.
"Together we can make sure that the last years of those who survived the Holocaust are not endured alone."
Mr Gould, the first Jewish diplomat to hold his post, told Israel’s Ha’aretz newspaper: "This is a very personal mission for me.
"Many of my family died in the Holocaust. I believe that we have a special duty to look after survivors, and to give them the dignity and comfort that they deserve."
Speaking at a memorial day ceremony at Israel’s Yad Vashem museum today, Israeli President Shimon Peres spoke of the importance of the Israeli army.
He said: "The Holocaust determined once and for all that there is no replacement for a home of our own."