UJIA says ‘terrible strain’ has been placed on Israel-Diaspora relations

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UJIA says ‘terrible strain’ has been placed on Israel-Diaspora relations

'Young people are struggling with their relationship with Israel', message signed by chair Louise Jacobs and chief executive Mandie Winston states.

Lee Harpin is the Jewish News's political editor

Louise Jacobs at UJIA Annual Dinner
Louise Jacobs at UJIA Annual Dinner

The United Jewish Israel Appeal charity (UJIA) has issued its first statement on the crisis in Israel following the election of Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition government, admitting a “terrible strain” has been placed both on the population of the Jewish state and among the wider diaspora.

A message sent to the organisation’s supporters and partners, signed by chair Louise Jacobs and chief executive Mandie Winston, also states:”UJIA has a responsibility to speak out, especially since so many young people in our community, who we seek to inspire with a love of Israel, are struggling with their relationship with Israel.

“The statement notes that the “terrible strain being placed both on the unity of Israel’s population and on Israel-Diaspora relations” has “serious consequences for our long-term work.”

Israeli protestors in Tel Aviv. Credit: Jotam Confino

Describing UJIA as representing the “bedrock of the British Jewish community’s support for the people of Israel for over 100 years”, the statement says the charity remains “committed”  to the values that have always informed its work with the Jewish state.

But it notes:”We are profoundly concerned that recent proposals to weaken the independence of Israel’s judiciary together with actions and statements from members of the current Israeli government are undermining these values.”

It adds that UJIA believes it is both “pro Israel and an expression of modern Zionism” to show solidarity with Israelis who are concerned about the “erosion of democratic norms and the unprecedented rifts in society.”

Tellingly, the statement stresses how “proud” British Jews should be over their support and backing for the state of Israel. It adds:”We now call on those in positions of power in Israel to listen carefully and respectfully to the concerns of both Israeli citizens and diaspora communities for the sake of our collective Jewish future.”

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