Ruth Smeeth made an Honorary Captain in the Royal Naval Reserve
search

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

Ruth Smeeth made an Honorary Captain in the Royal Naval Reserve

EXCLUSIVE Ex-Jewish Labour MP admits she is 'incredibly proud' at being given the role, in recognition of her 'incredible public service over the last decades' to the Royal Navy

Lee Harpin is the Jewish News's political editor

Hon Capt (RNR) Ruth Smeeth thanks a bugler from the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers for his contribution to the annual service at the AJEX Memorial, National Memorial Arboretum
Hon Capt (RNR) Ruth Smeeth thanks a bugler from the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers for his contribution to the annual service at the AJEX Memorial, National Memorial Arboretum

Former MP Ruth Smeeth has said she is “incredibly proud” at having been made an Honorary Captain in the Royal Naval Reserve in an appointment approved by the Queen.

The Jewish Labour Movement’s vice-chair was confirmed in the role, a six year long commission, at a commemoration ceremony for Jewish armed service personnel last week.

It will see her advocate for the Royal Navy on issues of importance, and include engagement with communities and improving the recruitment of women into the force.

Whilst in parliament Smeeth,42, was vice chair of the Armed Forces Group and led on the Royal Navy from the Labour backbench.

She has continued to offer her services in a voluntary role to the navy after leaving Westminster at the last election.

Smeeth told Jewish News of her belief that “women from the left can talk about matters of national security with a level of authority.”

Smeeth had been put forward for the role last year, and said she was “incredibly excited” after being told her name was awaiting final approval for the post from Her Majesty The Queen.

S/Sgt Dan Fox, Chairman of AJEX, The Jewish Military Association (JMA), who attended last Wednesday’s service with Smeeth, added the honour “is first and foremost a well-deserved recognition of her incredible public service over the last decades.”

Fox added that “as a leading member of our community” Smeeth’s appointment “also reflects the historic relationship between the Royal Navy and Jews, going back to the resettlement. ”

He said:”Eight of the eleven earliest non-London Jewish communities were seaports and as well as selling to the crews, Jewish traders also helped them cash their wage tickets without having to travel to the Navy Pay Office in London.

“Jews served in the Royal Navy in the Seven Years War and the Napoleonic Wars, and of course in every conflict since. Ruth’s rank and role continues this tradition of the many ways in which Jews have supported service at sea.”

During last week’s event at the national memorial, which was the annual commemoration for both Jewish service personnel and veterans, three rabbis led a rendition of Adon Alom.

In 1984, the Jewish naval historian Geoffrey Green wrote: “Jews and sailors, therefore, were not an unlikely association. Contrary to popular belief, there was a certain affinity between them; both knew hardship, public disparagement and contempt. Economic circumstances brought them together.”

Smeeth, who has been CEO of the Index for Censorship organisation for two years, is widely predicted to make a return to Westminster after the next election, following her time as MP for Stoke on Trent North.

She is seen as being close politically to leader Keir Stermer, with both viewing patriotism as a core ideological belief.

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