Government moves to eject top rabbi from interfaith role


A leading United Synagogue rabbi was removed as patron of an interfaith charity because the government believed he was too extreme.

Rabbi Yitzchak Schochet was in position at Faith Matters for just a fortnight before being sacked on Monday.

According to a source close to the charity, the decision was taken after the Department for Communities and Local Government threatened to remove funding for other groups run by the charity’s head.

Officials at the department, led by Communities Minister Eric Pickles, are said to be unwilling to work with the Mill Hill United Synagogue minister who has made a series of controversial comments relating to Palestinians.

The Canadian-born rabbi has used his social media accounts to suggest all Palestinians were engaged in terrorist activity.

His appointment to the interfaith group at the end of January had led to complaints from Muslim groups.

Faith Matters works to reduce interfaith tensions. It is run by Fiyaz Mughal, a campaigner who also leads Tell Mama, which records Islamophobic incidents.

DCLG officials were prepared to remove funding from Tell Mama if Faith Matters retained Rabbi Schochet.

The DCLG refused to confirm that such a threat had been made. In a statement, Faith Matters said: “A few tweets made by Rabbi Schochet have taken very strong positions which have led to difficulties for us."

Faith Matters patron Filip Slipaczek, who suggested the rabbi to the group, said that while Rabbi Schochet was out-spoken, “sadly he is often unfairly provoked both in press and social media.”

Rabbi Schochet did not respond to requests for comment.

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