An open letter from Israeli restaurants across London

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An open letter from Israeli restaurants across London

Israeli-style and Israeli-owned restaurants need your support

Louisa Walters is Features Editor at the Jewish News and specialises in food and travel writing

Photo: Louis Hansel
Photo: Louis Hansel

Ever since the terrorist attack in Israel on 7 October, we wake up each morning to an increasingly dark world.

As proud British Jews/Israelis living in London, when we began the journey to bring our culinary passions to our beloved city of London, our mission was simple: to share our experience, flavours and love for connection with our customers.

We now find ourselves in a far different reality, where some are afraid to open their doors to the public or even celebrate who they are. This brings back painful memories that cut straight to our core as Jews. A seemingly never-ending pattern of persecution and suffering.

We pen this letter with a heavy heart, both as members of the vibrant British Jewish community and as owners of Israeli restaurants, some of which have borne the brunt of online attacks calling for people to harass and boycott Israeli restaurants and a notable decline in reservations by as much as 30 per cent.

The consequences affect our livelihoods and the livelihoods of those who depend on us, leaving us to grapple not only with the economic repercussions but also with the emotional toll of feeling isolated within our own community.

It is during these challenging times that we must rally together, recognising that our shared history and experiences can serve as the foundation for a stronger, more united front. Our intention is not only to share the challenges faced by many like us but also to shed light on the imperative need for support and unity within our community.

We call upon fellow Jews living in the UK to stand with us, not just as restaurant owners but as individuals who understand the importance of supporting one another in times of need. As consumers, choosing to dine at Israeli restaurants sends a powerful message that transcends the online negativity showing that hate and division will not define us. It is a tangible way to demonstrate that our community stands united, resilient in the face of adversity.

Moreover, there is an opportunity for dialogue and understanding. We believe in the power of conversation to bridge gaps and dispel misconceptions. Let us create spaces within our community where we can engage in open and respectful conversations, fostering understanding that goes beyond political differences.

It is also essential that we encourage and support initiatives aimed at promoting cultural exchange and cooperation. By participating in events that celebrate the richness of Israeli culture, we can collectively work towards dispelling stereotypes and building connections that extend beyond the virtual world.

People keep asking what we stand for and for us that is inclusivity and hospitality in its truest form: bringing people together. We are hospitable to all and will continue to be so.

We are still here with the same goal in our hearts, doing what we do best, day in and day out, making delicious food that should be shared amongst family and friends.

It is in this spirit that we invite you all to our restaurants to eat, drink and hopefully someday soon be merry. As we go into the festive season, we ask you all to consider this and come together as the beautiful community that we are and celebrate the undimmable light that is the Jewish spirit.

The Israeli/Jewish restaurant community

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