Young Zionists 'will not bow to intimidation' after Gaza Kaddish participants abused

'We won’t let the voice of the youth be overlooked,' they say, reiterating their 'concern about the humanitarian crisis in Gaza'


Nearly 90 young Zionists have said they “will not bow to intimidation” after a youth leader who took part in the “Kaddish for Gaza” was subjected to online abuse.

The open letter comes a day after Reform Judaism condemned the “misogynistic, violent online abuse” of Nina Morris-Evans, 20, who was dropped from leading an Israel tour this week amid the row over her and other young Jews saying Kaddish for the 62 Palestinians killed during protests on the Gaza border in May.

The Kaddish and its fallout caused huge division among British Jews. Last month, new President of the Board of Deputies Marie van der Zyl issued an impassioned plea for unity, saying the community "cannot afford to be divided in these times".

The open letter, signed by 89 young Zionists, says: “We, as past and present senior leaders and leaders from a range of Zionist Youth Movements, are deeply worried by the way in which particular members of our movements have been abused, harassed and bullied online - particularly in a violent and misogynistic manner, extending even to death threats.

“We reaffirm that our chaverim and our movements will not bow to intimidation by members of our community.”

The letter also called for the end of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, saying the creation of a “just, peaceful society” is a principle of Zionism.

It continues: “We see no contradiction between our Zionism, and our rejection of the entrenchment of Israel’s occupation alongside our concern about the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

“As leaders from a diverse range of Zionist Youth Movements, we won’t let the voice of the youth be overlooked by members of our wider communities.

“We intend to stand proudly behind our ideologies and will clearly and loudly state our commitment to a diverse and tolerant Jewish community that seeks justice and dignity across the world.”

The letter was signed by members of the Reform, Liberal and Masorti youth movements, as well as Habonim Dror, a socialist Zionist youth group.

The Kaddish event, took place outside Parliamen days after the violent clashes on the Gaza border. Hours before the event, Hamas claimed that 50 of the 62 dead were its operatives.

Ms Morris-Evans was initially told she would have to be mentored for her to still be able to lead the tour. The JC understands that the mentoring process was undertaken by Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner, senior rabbi of Reform Judaism.

On Monday RSY-Netzer, the Reform youth movement, Reform Judaism and UJIA reversed the decision.

Rabbi Janner-Klausner and Geoffrey Marx, the chairman of Reform Judaism, described the subsequent abuse of Ms Morris-Evans and others as “misogynistic and violent”, condemning “bullies” within the community.

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