Lib Dem leader Davey praises JFS students after visit for their ‘mature’ approach to Israel

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Lib Dem leader Davey praises JFS students after visit for their ‘mature’ approach to Israel

Foreign Affairs spokesperson Layla Moran tells of 'shared grief' as she meets a JFS student on a visit to the school, who, like herself, has lost relatives during the current conflict in Gaza

Lee Harpin is the Jewish News's political editor

Ed Davey and Layla Moran meet with Year 12 and 13 JFS students
Ed Davey and Layla Moran meet with Year 12 and 13 JFS students

Liberal Democrats leader Ed Davey has praised JFS sixth-form students’ “mature and passionate” conversation around Israel and Gaza after visiting the school with the party’s foreign affairs spokesperson Layla Moran.

While Moran, whose immediate family are Palestinian Christians in the West Bank, and who has extended family in Gaza, revealed the “touching moment” when she spoke with a student who had lost relatives in the 7th October Hamas terror attack during the meeting with students at the north-west London based school.

“That shared grief we both feel can be used for good,” said Moran, who has lost a family member herself in Gaza, since Israel targeted Hamas in the region.

The two politicians met with year 12 and 13 politics students as well as teachers and other pupils at JFS, during last week’s visit, where they took part in wide-ranging discussions, which also included efforts to tackle antisemitism, t other matters including next year’s general election, the Liberal Democrats’ campaign for proportional representation.

Davey, MP for Kingston and Surbiton and Leader of the Liberal Democrats, said after the visit:”I was delighted to speak to students at JFS. It was great to see their enthusiasm for politics here in the UK and abroad.

Sir Ed Davey MP and Layla Moran MP, with the JFS sixth form pupils.

“Their mature and passionate questions about the issues in Israel and Gaza, as well as antisemitism in the UK, is a credit to their families and their school, and I look forward to engaging with them about how we can look to a brighter future on these issues.” 

Moran, MP for Oxford West and Abingdon, added:“As a former teacher I always enjoy opportunities to visit schools and hear from students about the issues that really matter to them. 

“It was fantastic to hear from sixth form students at JFS about everything from education policy to Europe. I especially enjoyed our discussion about the need for more moderate voices on Israel/Palestine to shine through. We cannot let the extremists win.

“The most touching moment for me was speaking with a student who lost relatives on 7th October. That shared grief we both feel can be used for good.”

Jenny Jebreel, Head of Politics at JFS commented:“It was an absolute pleasure hearing from both Sir Ed and Layla. 

“The pupils were so impressed with the responses and the engaging way both addressed their questions.

“There were several stand out moments but a highlight was from Layla Moran who was thanked by our students for being a, ‘Voice from the Palestinian side that we don’t get to hear otherwise. A Palestinian voice calling for peace and to live in harmony with Israel not at the expense or detriment of Israel.

“Both MPs commented on the excellent calibre of questions and responses from our students. I can’t thank them enough for coming.”

The two senior Lib Dem politicians also held a phone call on 6th December with Yair Lapid, former Israeli Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition in the Knesset.

Photo of Ed Davey, Layla Moran and Liberal Democrat Friends of Israel, Hon. Chair Gavin Stollar on the phone to MK Yair Lapid.

Lapid, who is the leader of Liberal Democrat sister party Yesh Atid, who has been critical of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s government, discussed the ongoing conflict in Israel and Gaza, as well as the need to remove Hamas from Gaza for the security of Israelis, the future of Palestinians and the safety of the wider region.

Davey and Moran celebrated the release of some hostages the previous  week, and spoke of their desire to release those still held in captivity. They also shared their horror with Lapid about the testimonies of the survivors and first responders to the atrocities of 7th October. 

The three spoke of the need to increase aid to the civilian population in Gaza and the necessity of reducing civilian casualties in the military operation.
Lapid also spoke of his plans for Gaza, the day after the war and the day after Hamas. Davey and Moran raised the involvement of the Palestinian Authority, and the potential role of the Gulf states.

Lapid also sent his deepest condolences to Layla on the death of her relative in Gaza.

Davey later commented: “It was a pleasure to once again speak to our friend Yair, albeit amidst very dark times for Israelis and Palestinians.

“A lasting peace and a two-state solution is the way to guarantee the security which Israelis and Palestinians deserve – but getting there will require real leadership. In Yair, I see such a leader.

“Liberal Democrats are proud to be sister parties with Yesh Atid and will continue to work closely with them to combat extremism and populism.”

Davey recently met with the Community Security Trust to discuss the unprecedented rise in antisemitism and with the Chief Rabbi, Sir Ephraim Mirvis, to show his support for the Jewish community in this difficult time.

 Alongside Moran the pair also met with some of the families of those Israelis who had relatives either killed or kidnapped on 7th October. 

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