Israelis go on a solidarity mission to the UK

A delegation of Israeli community leaders met their Anglo-Jewish counterparts


A delegation of Israeli centre managers meeting members of the Brighton Jewish community at the BNJC while on a solidarity trip to the UK

A delegation of Israeli leaders has been on a solidarity visit to England – to offer support to diaspora communities in the wake of rising antisemitism.

The seven-member group, overseeing centres in various Israeli regions, including Ofakim in the Gaza envelope and Kiryat Shemona near the Lebanese border, emphasised their unique mission of providing solidarity and sympathy to UK Jewish communities affected by the repercussions of war and the surge in antisemitism, rather than seeking support for their own communities in Israel.

Ayala Perez, the head of the delegation, which was co-organised and hosted by the Jewish Agency in the UK, highlighted the significance of this inaugural solidarity tour, initiated by the Israel Association of Community Centers (IACC): “The visit was born out of the October 7th disaster [and] underscores the ongoing commitment to fostering relations between Israeli and Jewish communities in the diaspora. These ties strengthen the Jewish people, enabling them to better face the challenges ahead.”

She said that the group had chosen to visit England due to “the significant protests, displays of hatred and violence towards Jewish communities and the sharp increase in antisemitism”.

During the visit, the delegation had meetings with representatives of Jewish and Israeli communities in London and Brighton and joined discussions with Israeli ambassador Tzipi Hotovely, rabbis of various congregations, staff at JW3, Jewish Care, BNJC in Brighton and the Jewish Agency.

Delegate Yafit Haikin, said that she was "pained by the concerns of the Jewish community about rising antisemitism" but was impressed by the warm welcome and touched by the shared sense of destiny.

Alon Yaakov, from Ofakim, a community that lost dozens of its residents on October 7, spoke about the strong historical connection he felt during meetings with Jewish communities in England, emphasising that he sensed that "there was mutual sympathy and a collective urge to help and support one another".

Vadim Blumin, head of the Jewish Agency in the UK and Western Europe, said afterwards that the meeting had been “significant for both sides, raised big and significant questions and explored new opportunities and ideas for future collaborations”.

He added: “Along with the national disaster that befell Israel, there is tremendous importance to the shared fate and destiny between Israel and Jewish communities around the world.”

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