Australian activist Isi Leibler, who helped lead an international campaign to release Soviet Jews who were denied exit visas, has died aged 86.
He is credited for being one of the first people to raise wider awareness of the refuseniks’ plight.
Leibler’s press and lobbying campaign, which began with an article in 1959, resulted in Australia becoming the first country to raise awareness of Soviet Jewry as a human rights issue in parliament and at the United Nations.
His nephew Jeremy Leibler, who is now president of the Zionist Federation of Australia, said he had shown how one individual “can indeed change the world”.
“That is exactly what Isi achieved in the role he played in the fight to free Soviet Jewry,” Jeremy Leibler said.
“He was fearless and uncompromising in his dedication to the Jewish people and the State of Israel.
“He enjoyed success in all aspects of his life but his passion was always defending the Jewish people and ensuring the centrality of the State of Israel to Jewish life in the Diaspora.”
Leibler would go on to campaign on the issue of Soviet Jewry throughout the 1960s and 1970s.
This story is being updated by Jewish News journalists.
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...
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.