Labour Friends of Israel sends delegation on ‘solidarity’ visit to Israel

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Labour Friends of Israel sends delegation on ‘solidarity’ visit to Israel

Dame Louise Ellman said 'This delegation is an opportunity for supporters of Israel in the Labour party to see and hear first-hand about what this country and its people have experienced in recent months'

Lee Harpin is the Jewish News's political editor

LFI delegations meets with President Isaac Herzog
LFI delegations meets with President Isaac Herzog

Labour Friends of Israel have sent a delegation of current and former parliamentarians to Israel this week in a “solidarity” visit following last October’s Hamas terror atrocity.

The delegation, led by former LFI chair Dame Louise Ellman visited Kibbutz Kfar Aza, which was devastated by the terror group’s murderous attack, and met with with British and British-linked families of hostages being held in Gaza.

The group, which included LFI vice-chair Christian Wakeford MP, Dame Margaret Hodge MP, Baroness Ruth Anderson of Stoke-on-Trent, and LFI lay chair Adrian Cohen, also held a meeting with Israeli president Isaac Herzog, and British Ambassador to Israel Simon Walters.

A briefing also took place with expert on sexual violence against Israeli women on 7 October professor Ruth Kaddari and with IDF spokesman and director-general of Histadrut international division Peter Lerner.

Dame Louise Ellman said: “It is so important for us, as Labour Friends of Israel, to be here this week showing our solidarity following the 7 October attacks and the subsequent war with Hamas.

“This delegation is an opportunity for supporters of Israel in the Labour party to see and hear first-hand about what this country and its people have experienced in recent months.

“Through meetings with senior politicians and experts, the families of British-linked hostages being held in Gaza, and revisiting a place that has become a feature of LFI delegations – Kibbutz Kfar Aza – we have been able to gain an insight into the impact of the horrific 7 October attacks and the ensuing conflict with Hamas terrorists.

“Amid the horror and despair since then, we can take comfort in the international bonds of solidarity that tie us together, both as countries and as progressives. The message that we have brought here is clear: at this darkest moment, Israel has a friend in the Labour party.”

Vice-chair Christian Wakeford MP said:  “This delegation has been an important opportunity for me to demonstrate solidarity, bear witness and share in the pain of the Israeli and Jewish people since 7 October.

This is my second trip to Israel within a year, including my second visit to Kfar Aza. However, the devastating impact of those harrowing attacks by Hamas have been plain for all to see.

This experience has strengthened my own belief in the need for us to stand by peacemakers, both Israeli and Palestinian, in their work towards a peaceful future.”

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