The head of a UN agency was in London this week trying to persuade Britain’s Foreign Office to rethink its budget cuts, which affect Palestinian education.
Philippe Lazzarini, the commissioner-general of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), said the cuts made by the UK were bringing it “close to collapse”.
The UK has more than halved its core grant, from £42.5 million last year to £20.8 million this year.
But, challenged about anti-Israel bias in the textbooks used in UNRWA schools, Lazzarini sidestepped the question. “Every year we have tens of schools that are rewarded by the British Council for the quality of their education,” he said. “By investing in the education of more than 500,000 boys and girls in the region, we are not only investing in the future, but in the stability of the region.”
Just two weeks ago Middle East minister James Cleverly responded to a question from Henley MP John Howell about the content of Palestinian textbooks. He told Howell the reduction in funding to the Palestinian Authority “was in direct response to the official development assistance prioritisation review, which was itself in response to the economic constraints driven by Covid”.
But, he added, Britain would “continue to support the Palestinians through UNRWA. We will ensure that, as we have done, we continue to press for that education curriculum to be devoid of any examples of antisemitism.”
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.