On Wednesday 13 January, Reform Judaism Chair Robert Weiner joined other members of the Jewish Leadership Council (JLC) at Number 10 Downing Street for the Jewish community’s annual meeting with the Prime Minister. The meeting was an opportunity to raise concerns and issues facing the Jewish community.
It highlighted the continuing support from the Prime Minister and how Jewish initiatives will support key government policies.
The JLC delegation of 12 leading figures from the JLC’s membership was led by JLC Chairman Sir Mick Davis. The main topics covered were:
- Funding for Jewish community security
- On campus issues including the glorification of terrorists on campuses and student unions’ adoption of policies in support of a boycott of Israel
- How the community promotes British values in ultra-Orthodox schools and the safeguarding ‘out of school’ religious education
- Social care within the Jewish community and how organisations implement the national living wage whilst maintaining quality services
- The government’s approach to the Middle East conflict and the need to prepare people for peace rather than conflict
- How the community intends to mark the centenary of the Balfour Declaration
- A plan to help integrate Syrian refugees arriving in this country by giving them the skills to find work
Robert Weiner said: “The Prime Minister appreciates the way the Jewish community speaks with a coordinated voice and his desire to spread global tolerance not hatred should have our full support”
Chairman of the JLC, Sir Mick Davis, said: “We live in a complex and difficult world. As Jews, we are facing a rising tide of anti-Semitism and anti- Israel rhetoric but despite this – I can’t think of a better time to be Jewish in the UK. We are an innovative and proud community, one that can celebrate the work of our high performing schools, a dedicated and effective social care infrastructure and enriching religious institutions. Other interventions which highlight Jewish life and contribution have become a feature of British society.
“In an era where many see faith communities as outdated it is important that we highlight our strengths and we are grateful that throughout Mr Cameron’s time as Prime Minister the Jewish community has received ongoing support from the Government which has facilitated this vibrant Jewish life. However, the challenges that are facing the Jewish community and civic society as a whole affect us all on a day to day basis and we are sure this meeting will contribute to their resolution”.
A Downing Street spokesperson said: “The Prime Minister met the Jewish Leadership Council earlier today at Downing Street for their annual meeting to discuss issues of importance to the Jewish community and to celebrate their huge contribution to the UK. The Prime Minister discussed the importance of tackling any form of hatred and prejudice and how we are doing everything we can to ensure the Jewish community feels safe in the UK. The Prime Minister also recognised how next year is a special year for the Jewish community with the centenary of the Balfour Declaration”.
Each topic was introduced by the relevant member of the JLC who attended the meeting.
The members of the delegation were:
Sir Mick Davis, Jewish Leadership Council
Jonathan Arkush, Board of Deputies of British Jews
Hannah Brady, Union of Jewish Students
David Chinn, Political Oversight Group, Jewish Leadership Council
Jonathan Goldstein, Partnerships for Jewish Schools (PaJes), Jewish Leadership Council
Simon Johnson, Jewish Leadership Council
Steven Lewis, Jewish Care
James Libson, World Jewish Relief
Edward Misrahi, Britain Israel Communications & Research Centre (BICOM)
Stephen Pack, United Synagogue
Gerald Ronson CBE, Community Security Trust (CST)
Robert Weiner, Movement for Reform Judaism