Foreign secretary writes to Rabbi Dee to condemn 'brutal' murders

James Cleverly said 'there can be no justification for such senseless and abhorrent violence'


The foreign secretary has written to Rabbi Leo Dee to condemn terrorism faced by Israel and express condolences over the “brutal” murder of his wife and daughters.

The former Radlett United Synagogue rabbi’s children Rina, 15, and Maia, 20, were killed when Palestinian gunmen drove their car off the road and shot it with 20 bullets on April 7.

Dee’s wife, Rabbetzin Lucy Dee, 48, was seriously wounded in the attack and died three days later in hospital. Organs donated following her death saved the lives of five people.

In a letter sent Thursday April 13, James Cleverly said: "There can be no justification for such senseless and abhorrent violence, and I unequivocally condemn this act of terrorism.

“The UK remains steadfast in our commitment to work with the Israeli authorities, and all parties in the region, to bring an end to the terrorism that Israel faces, and to the cycle of violence which, as we have seen all too clearly, is so destructive.”

If there is anything that the British government can do to help you or your family, he added, you should let us know.

Britain’s foreign office was previously criticised for the weak phrasing of an initial statement on the attack.

It read: “We are saddened to hear about the deaths of two British-Israeli citizens and the serious injuries sustained by a third individual”, and called for “‘all parties… to de-escalate tensions”.

In response, Israel’s former ambassador to America, Michael Oren, wrote: “Shame on Britain. No mention of Palestinians or terror, no outrage. The sisters merely ‘died’ and a third person was somehow injured.”

Following Lucy Dee’s death, Cleverly condemned the “abhorrent” attack in a statement published to Twitter.

He said: “There can be no justification for the murder of Leah and her two daughters, Maia and Rina. 

“We will continue to work with the Israeli authorities to end this senseless violence.”

In his April 13 letter to Rabbi Dee, Cleverly added: "I was incredibly moved by your decision to donate Lucy's organs and save five lives. It is a testament to the character of you and your family that you were able to find compassion in the darkest moment…

“As you and your family sit shiva, honouring the lives of Lucy, Maia and Rina, allow me to express again our sympathies. May their memories be a blessing.”

In a speech following his wife’s death, Rabbi Dee asked people to post pictures of the Israeli flag online to stand against those who justify terror.

The British-Israeli rabbi asked: “Am I and my family really a threat to world peace? We who teach kindness and love? We who value life over anything else?”

“We will never blame the murder on the victims," he added.

"There is no such thing as moral equivalence between terrorist and victim. The terrorist is always bad.”

Israeli security forces are yet to track down the militants behind the killing, but reportedly believe they have gone to ground in the north of the West Bank.

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