Israeli war veterans get London trip


A two-week UK visit for 17 Israeli war veterans organised by the Manchester branch of British Friends of Israel War Disabled went ahead despite a significant financial shortfall.

The annual trip, featuring activities around the north-west and two days' sightseeing in London, costs £20,000.

Manchester-based organiser Elaine Hamburger said the economic downturn had made fundraising difficult and half the money had yet to be raised. Cash was still coming in but any shortfall would be met by the national BFIWD organisation.

Mrs Hamburger said she had made close friends among the Israelis who had come to Manchester over the 32 years she had been arranging the visits. "I have watched their kids grow up."

This year's participants were entertained by pupils at Manchester's King David and Delamere Forest schools and enjoyed a tour of Manchester United's Old Trafford stadium. In Liverpool, the visitors were shown around the historic Old Hebrew Congregation in Princes Road. They were also hosted by the Blackpool community and visited Chatsworth House.

They were "amazed at the hospitality and warmth they were shown", Mrs Hamburger reported.

In London, they were given a tour of the Houses of Parliament by Bury South MP Ivan Lewis.

They also saw Buckingham Palace, made a theatre visit to Mamma Mia and enjoyed drinks in Hendon kosher pub Fernandez.

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