Leaders from a number of UK Jewish communal organisations met with the Prime Minister, David Cameron on Thursday 10th January 2013 in a meeting that has been described as very positive, warm and highly constructive.
The delegation from the community was arranged and coordinated by the Jewish Leadership Council (JLC) and included heads of a number of communal organisations from different sectors of UK Jewish life. It was led jointly by Vivian Wineman, President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews and Mick Davis, Chair of the JLC Board of Trustees.
The meeting, which took place at 10 Downing Street, covered a wide range of topics. The delegation raised issues which included Religious freedoms, the Big Society, Social Care policy, Education policy, anti-Semitism and the Middle East Peace Process. They stressed the need for a swift resolution to the funding issues around long-term elderly care.
The delegation took the opportunity to thank the Prime Minister for his ongoing support and especially for attending the Guidhall for the 40th anniversary of the Munich massacre. The delegation also thanked the Prime Minister for the Government’s robust position on Iranian nuclear proliferation. They also asked the Prime Minister to continue to take a personal lead in pressing the EU to proscribe Hezbollah as a terrorist organisation and to consider specific extentions to the sanctions on Iran. The delegation encouraged the Prime Minister to press ahead with his Big Society agenda and reinforced the support for this programme across the major Jewish charities.
Opening the discussion the Prime Minister said:
I see this meeting as a good opportunity to repeat again how much I welcome the contribution of the Jewish community to the United Kingdom. An enormous amount of contribution in terms of the voluntary sector, in terms of Big Society, in terms of business, in terms of politics, in terms of our national life. The Jewish community has been a model for others to follow in terms of successful integration into the UK, and it’s worth making that point again.
Second, I think it’s very useful to run through specific issues. Both issues looking backwards that were discussed previously, like Shechita, faith schools and also your concerns about faith based charities and the Equalities Act.
There are also the perennial issues of course where we must keep up the fight against anti-Semitism; we need to keep up the fight against boycotts, and de-legitimisation of Israel.
And third, I think it’s a good opportunity to exchange views on the current situation in terms of Israel and the Middle East and the Middle East peace process. Obviously we’ve got the elections in Israel and it’s quite an important time with the US President now being re-inaugurated, so it’s a good way of taking stock.
Vivian Wineman, President of the Board of Deputies and Chair of the JLC Council of Membership said:
We are grateful to the Prime Minister for his continued engagement with the community on a number of substantive concerns and for his sympathetic responses.
Commenting on the discussions Mick Davis, Chairman of the Trustees of the JLC said:
The Prime Minister understood our concerns and was incredibly responsive to them. We stressed the need for the UK to help to support negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians by acting in a fair, balanced and even-handed manner.
For further information, please contact Craig Leviton (JLC Communications Advisor) at [email protected] or 020 3326 9290.