Celebrations as IsrAction Day goes global


A grassroots campaign day which helps those in need while tackling anti-Israel boycotts has raised an estimated £150,000 in 10 countries.

IsrAction Day saw activists and members of the public buy and donate Israeli goods to charities including local food banks and the Cumbria flood appeal.

Sunday marked the campaign's second annual event. The initiative was devised last year by the North West Friends of Israel (NWFOI) and Sussex Friends of Israel (SFI) groups.

One of the international communities involved in the effort was in Toulouse, France, where a terrorist attack in 2012 killed seven people including three children and a rabbi outside a Jewish school.

Sussex Friends of Israel co-founder Fiona Sharpe said it was "really important" that people in Toulouse could "stand up for Israel, and also engage with their local communities".

She added that it was "so important that the communities taking part have made sure they reached out to the general public to offer the food products that were donated.

"This wasn't about Jewish communities contributing to Jewish charities, this was people doing real outreach to the general community that we all live in."

She praised the "phenomenal amount of food going to the people who need it most at a time when it's really tough going into the winter months. The support and uptake has just amazed us, both within the UK but also internationally".

This year's instalment of IsrAction Day was endorsed by Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis for the first time and supported by communal organisations including the Zionist Federation, Jewish Leadership Council, Wizo and Glasgow Jewish Representative Council.

Communities in Australia, New Zealand, the United States, Canada, South Africa, Germany, Belgium and Norway took part, with NWFOI co-chair Anthony Dennison hoping to expand the initiative next year.

He said: "We're going to start planning next year's soon, because in each of these nations we want feedback about how large it was, and then we're going to try to get it into more countries. We also want to expand it into Christian Friends of Israel groups."

Mr Dennison, whose group donated part of the proceeds to local charities Gift and L'Chaim, said that the day "went way beyond our expectations, both in the UK and internationally.

"Internationally it was just staggering, and in the UK we raised over £50,000 worth of food for those in need, which was a great achievement. We reached the length and breadth of the country and across the globe, so we're very proud. It's done a lot of good."

Last year's event raised around £30,000.

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