The Chief Rabbi’s office has raised concerns with the Home Office over its U-turn on a commitment to settle 3,000 Syrian child refugees in the UK.
Under an amendment, introduced in the House of Lords by Jewish peer Lord Dubs, the government was expected to provide a home for 3,000 vulnerable refugee children.
But the Home Office announced that only an additional 150 lone child refugees are to be brought to Britain, bringing the total number let in so far to 350.
The JC understands Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis’s office has been in contact with the Home Secretary Amber Rudd to express concern over the decision.
Rabbi Mirvis, who has been a vocal supporter of refugees, warned that closing borders to refugees “would not make sense” after a visit to a Greek refugee camp in 2015.
Meanwhile 58 rabbis from across the community have signed a letter to Ms Rudd urging the government reinstate the Dubs scheme.
The rabbis stated that many in the Jewish community were “shocked” by its closure.
They pointed out that Lord Dubs was himself a refugee, brought to Britain on the Kindertransport.
“Alf Dubs was saved, along with thousands of Jewish children only because of the compassion shown by Britain in the 1930’s,” they wrote.
“Today we should extend this compassion to those, who face peril of different kind. We implore the government to take two immediate actions: first, to reinstate and fulfil its obligations under the Dubs Amendment; and secondly, to ensure that the Dublin system of family reunification works faster and to its fullest extent, so that lone refugee children can be reunited with close members of their family in the UK.
“This is underpinned by our belief that Britain is a better country when it is not turning its back on children. We have a long, proud history of helping those fleeing persecution, and this tradition should not be betrayed today.”
Signatories to the letter, sent under the auspices of the Jewish Council for Racial Equality, include Laura Janner-Klausner, Senior Rabbi to Reform Judaism, Rabbi David Mason from Muswell Hill Synagogue, Rabbi Richard Jacobi, co-chair of the Rabbinic Conference of Liberal Judaism, and Rabbi Josh Levy, chair of the Assembly of Reform Rabbis.