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Chief Rabbi calls for new ‘Jewish foreign policy’ during visit to Ethiopia

Rabbi Mirvis: 'In addition to acts of compassion for our own community and the State of Israel, we should be supporting the under-privileged around the world'

    Rabbi and Rebbetzin Mirvis in Ethiopia with representatives of the local Jewish community

    The Chief Rabbi has called for a “global Jewish foreign policy” relating to social responsibility, while visiting Ethiopia alongside Israeli President Reuven Rivlin.

    “Countries are known to have a foreign policy, I believe that the Jewish people should have a foreign policy,” Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis said.

    “The way to develop that foreign policy must surely be in the area of social responsibility. In addition to acts of compassion for our own community and the State of Israel, we should as well be supporting the under-privileged around the world."

    Rabbi Mirvis said he and President Rivlin met a few months ago, and “saw eye-to-eye immediately” on the subject of social responsibility initiatives. Mr Rivlin subsequently invited the Chief Rabbi to join his state visit to Ethiopia this week “in order to show that there is a partnership between the State of Israel and world Jewish leaders, keen on engaging outwardly for the benefit of developing countries".

    Rabbi Mirvis spoke about how according to the Rambam, “the highest level of charity is when one enables and empowers, giving someone the equipment to look after themselves.

    “It is in this context that we should be providing know-how and ability and capacity to individuals, families, communities and nations, to be able to carve out their own future, in a very positive and meaningful way.”

    On the subject of the Jewish Ethiopian community, and an announcement by leaders of that community that unless Israel allows them to emigrate they will begin a hunger strike next week, Rabbi Mirvis said: “This is a matter that Israel really needs to sort out quickly.”

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