28 rabbis express ‘deep concern and dismay’ to Priti Patel over asylum bill
search

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

28 rabbis express ‘deep concern and dismay’ to Priti Patel over asylum bill

Jewish leaders from the United Synagogue, Masorti, Liberal and Reform among those to sign a letter, saying proposals 'strongly negate our Jewish values of justice and fairness.'

Lee Harpin is the Jewish News's political editor

A group of people thought to be migrants are brought in to Dover, Kent, by the RNLI, following a small boat incident in the Channel after 27 people died yesterday in the worst-recorded migrant tragedy in the Channel. Picture date: Thursday November 25, 2021.
A group of people thought to be migrants are brought in to Dover, Kent, by the RNLI, following a small boat incident in the Channel after 27 people died yesterday in the worst-recorded migrant tragedy in the Channel. Picture date: Thursday November 25, 2021.

A group of 28 UK rabbis have written to the Home Secretary expressing the “deep concern and dismay” they say is felt by many in the Jewish community over the government’s asylum bill proposals.

The United Synagogue’s Rabbi David Mason and Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg, the Senior Rabbi of Masorti Judaism, were amongst the signatories of the letter coordinated by the Jewish Council for Racial Equality (JCORE), which was sent to Priti Patel on Tuesday.

It was timed to coincide with a debate in the Commons on amendments to the Nationality and Borders Bill’s proposals.

In their letter, the rabbis, who include Rabbi Rachel Benjamin, Rabbi Rebecca Birk, Rabbi Dr Barbara and Rabbi Warren Elf MBE, assert that the bill’s punitive measures, which would create a two-tier asylum system and restrict the rights of many refugees arriving outside of official routes, “strongly negate our Jewish values of justice and fairness.”

They also urge the Home Secretary to remove “deeply damaging plans” within the bill which leave open future options for offshore asylum processing, highlighting that Torah instructs us to welcome the stranger 36 times.

And they express profound concern that the bill “will do nothing to prevent asylum seekers from being forced into undertaking such dangerous journeys, and will merely result in further misery for those in need of sanctuary”.

While the rabbis state that they agree that the UK’s asylum system is in need of urgent reform, they call on the Home Secretary to do this in a “a compassionate, workable and forward thinking manner.”

Under tougher sentencing powers, migrants who overstay their visas could face four years in prison, the Home Secretary has said.

At present the maximum punishment for this offence is six months. The Home Office has said the most serious cases would be targeted under the plan.

And they also say the measures will make it easier to deport those found guilty of overstaying. Any foreign national offender sentenced for over a year can be deported.

Compelling the Home Secretary to scrap the bill’s cruel plans, the rabbis instead call for the government to immediately expand and open safe routes for refugees, to ensure that the preventable, tragic deaths of 27 people in the Channel last month are never repeated.

 

The full list of signatories is as follows: 

Rabbi Rachel Benjamin

Rabbi Rebecca Birk

Rabbi Dr Barbara Borts

Rabbi Janet Burden

Rabbi Warren Elf MBE

Rabbi Adam Frankenberg

Rabbi Ariel J Friedlander

Rabbi Aaron Goldstein

Rabbi Dr. Margaret Jacobi

Rabbi Richard Jacobi

Rabbi Oliver Spike Joseph

Rabbi D Kada

Rabbi Dr Deborah Kahn-Harris

Rabbi Sandra Kviat

Rabbi Judith Levitt

Rabbi Daniel Lichman

Rabbi David Mason

Rabbi Rene Pfertzel

Rabbi Sylvia Rothschild

Rabbi Elli Tikvah Sarah

Rabbi Sybil Sheridan

Rabbi Mark L Solomon

Rabbi Jackie Tabick

Rabbi Larry Tabick

Rabbi Roni Tabick

Rabbi Daniela Thau

Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg

Rabbi Alexandra Wright

 

Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...

Engaging

Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.

Celebrating

There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.

Pioneering

In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.

Campaigning

Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish Newsalso produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more:
comments