Thousands honour Jewish members of the British Armed Forces at AJEX parade

6,000 people took part in the march and watched the parade


Thousands of people lined the streets of London to honour the Jewish servicemen and women from the British Armed Forces at the annual AJEX Jewish Military Association parade, which was held on Sunday.

Attracting some 6,000 marchers and spectators – double the number of last year’s event – the march began at Horse Guards Parade. Around 3,000 Jewish veterans, descendants of veterans and current members of the military wore medals and held standards as they marched along Whitehall to the Cenotaph, where a service was held.

Speaking at a reception before the parade, the Chief Rabbi said the event was an opportunity to “recognise the contribution given by more than 120,000 Jewish servicemen and women in two world wars”.

“It is with such enormous deep pride that I attend the AJEX parade every year and I share the pride in what we as a community have done and continue to do for British society.”

Acknowledging that this year’s parade marked 80 years since the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, Sir Rabbi Mirvis said it was “so sad and tragic that, 80 years on, we are experiencing a global rise in antisemitism”.

Touching on the theme of “Side by Side”, he added that this year “we would stand side by side with members of our community and the state of Israel”.

Dan Fox, national chair of AJEX said this year’s parade “could not feel sharper for the relevance of remembering the courage and sacrifice of those who served and continue to serve in uniform”.

He said that “sometimes, acts of remembering must be coupled with acts of reminding”. Last month, the Jewish community experienced “the largest single day Jewish death toll since the Shoah. But out of the horror came acts of bravery and defiance - young men and women and veterans arriving at the scene[…] Never again means now.”

The event, which also marked 80 years since the Dam Busters Raid and 70 years since the end of the Korean War, was multigenerational, with war veterans walking alongside JFS cadets, members of JLGB and Scouts.

It also coincided with the community’s annual Mitzvah Day and Board of Deputies president Marie Van Der Zyl said that there “was no greater mitzvah than remembrance”.

As a former member of the Jewish Lads and Girls Brigade, she said she had attended the parade almost every year since she was 13. “Every year, I am as moved as I was the first time.

“This year, more than any other year, we need to stand together and celebrate and mourn the fallen. This is also a day when we have the ability to stand tall and proud of our community.”

After the march, Fiona Palmer, chief executive of AJEX, expressed gratitude for the turnout, saying: “Today's 'Side by Side' theme captured the current mood with the importance of community unity, strength and pride. The community's standing together, especially after events in southern Israel, stands as a powerful defiance against antisemitism.

“Today we honoured thousands of Jewish men and women who fought for our freedom. A heartfelt thank you to CST and the Met Police for ensuring the safety of today's ceremony, and to all who participated, whether marching or spectating”.

Mark Gardner of CST, which was jointly sponsoring this year’s parade, said he hoped that the work of CST would give the Jewish community “more strength, more courage and more resilience to lead Jewish lives. That’s our purpose.”

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