Fauda star urges Anglo-Jewry to ‘stay strong’

Yaakov Zada Daniel was speaking at the Jewish Child’s Day fundraising dinner in London


Fauda actor Yaakov Zada Daniel being interviewed by journalist Shirit Gal Kedar at the Jewish Child's Day Dinner (Photo: Grainge Photography Ltd)

Fauda star Yaakov Zada Daniel has said Israel needs UK Jewry to be strong and unafraid.

Addressing upwards of 260 people at the Jewish Child’s Day dinner in central London this week, Daniel said: “We [in Israel] need you to be strong and proud of being Jewish here in the UK, not afraid of anyone. We need you strong and [unafraid] of anything.

“It’s a very hard situation [for Jews] now, and fortunately or unfortunately, that’s what we are. Israel is the country of the Jewish people, and without this connection between us [of being Jews], you are here, and we are there. But we are one people, and we are united and [intertwined].

“We have one country, this is the Jewish land, and without your support and without your strength, Israel could not be. Am Israel chai.”

Daniel was speaking on stage in conversation with journalist Shirit Gal Kedar at the Rebuilding Young Lives event, the charity’s first in-person fundraising dinner since 2019.

He is an alumnus and ambassador of the SOS Children's Village Neradim, one of the 130 projects supported annually by JCD, where he grew up from the age of three.

He said: “It is a great privilege for me to be a child who came [from Neradim] and to now be standing on stage in London talking with you, your eyes [and attention] on me while I talk about myself, starring in a successful show. You can’t take anything for granted. [It is] because of Neradim I became the person I am today; all my values, confidence, everything.

“So, think what you can do. When you support a child [through JCD] like me, and maybe one day he will come and be on this stage [too]. These children are our future. These children are the future of Israel, and we need to give them all the push they need to one day be ambassadors in Israel and to Israel.”

Talking to the JC, Daniel said Fauda writers had begun working on the script of season five, but it had to be scrapped following October 7.

He said: “Everyone and everything was affected by that day. You cannot move, you cannot have a thought, you cannot [interact] without it being [at the forefront of your] mind. The trauma was [unprecedented] in Israel.”

He said: “Each person in Israel knows someone who was either killed or hurt” on October 7, including one of the children from Neradim, Sigal Etach, who was murdered at the Nova music festival.

Daniel was eager to talk fondly about his “house parent” at Neradim, English teacher and role model, David Dattner, whom Daniel referred to as an “angel”. Originally from London, Dattner was a pilot in the Second World War and came to Israel to work with children. He died in 2012 and was buried near the village.

These days, Daniel supports the SOS Children's Village Neradim in any way he can through fundraising efforts or by taking the initiative to arrange large bar mitzvahs and bat mitzvahs for the village’s children.

Jewish Child’s Day, one of the UK’s leading grant-giving Jewish charities, has supported more than 1.5 million children in need since the charity’s establishment 76 years ago.

Since the October 7 massacre, the charity has been ensuring displaced families in Israel that have children with special needs are supported with accommodation and food. It has also been providing paediatric beds for babies and small children with disabilities so they can be transported easily and quickly to a safe space and assisted deaf and hard-of-hearing children with emotional support.

The Chief Rabbi Sir Ephraim Mirvis acknowledged “the significant contribution Jewish Child’s Day has made and continues to make. British Jewry can be exceptionally proud of what JCD has achieved.”
Speaking about his most recent trip to Israel, his second since October, he said: “There are over 200,000 Israeli refugees who have been displaced from their homes in the south of Israel [and] in the north of Israel.

“It is, in this respect, that I was so proud to learn that Jewish Child’s Day, in addition to everything that the charity is doing, is prioritising children who have been displaced, who already have enormous problems and challenges, but to whom the current trauma is a huge ordeal.”

Anthea Jackson, JCD’s executive director, said: “Because of what took place on October 7, the children of Israel are facing the most challenging time in their short life, not seen in our community since the dark days of the Holocaust.

“Hundreds of thousands are displaced, suffering from severe trauma that we can never imagine, hundreds injured and so many lives forever torn apart as they come to terms with moving home, separated from their family and friends.

“Many of [the children] we help were already experiencing extreme challenges. We need to provide long-term support for these children, whose lives have been profoundly affected by this tragic war. It is our responsibility to instil hope and pave the way to a brighter future.”

She said all money raised would go towards “buying medical equipment for disabled children, educational equipment for children with special needs, providing workshops, social workers, psychologists, therapists and more.”

The evening raised approximately £275,000, much of which came from first-time donors.

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