The Jewish Chronicle - - COMMUNITY 21 -

UK JEWS took part in a wide-rang­ing sol­i­dar­ity mis­sion in Is­rael this week, or­gan­ised by UJIA to give com­mu­nity mem­bers the op­por­tu­nity to con­vey their sup­port in per­son.

The 115 par­tic­i­pants de­liv­ered gift pack­ages to wounded Is­raeli sol­diers at the Tel Hashomer Sheba Med­i­cal Cen­tre in Ramat Gan, and to chil­dren in Ashkelon af­fected by the Gaza con­flict. They were also given brief­ings by high pro­file fig­ures, in­clud­ing Is­raeli Labour leader Isaac Her­zog, UK am­bas­sador to Is­rael Matthew Gould and the ini­tia­tor of the Iron Dome air de­fence sys­tem, Daniel Gold, as well as a lec­ture on the emo­tional and psy­cho­log­i­cal im­pact of the con­flict on or­di­nary Is­raelis.

Among the youngest par­tic­i­pants was Josh Pe­leg, 16, who went on Is­rael tour with FZY this sum­mer. “I came on the mis­sion be­cause oth­er­wise I was just sit­ting by the pool not help­ing any­one out,” he said. “I wanted to ac­tively help and get in­volved. The best part so far was in Ashkelon meet­ing Yu­val, who is head of the youth coun­cil for the whole south­ern re­gion. She’s only 17 and it’s just so in­spir­ing what she’s do­ing help­ing the young peo­ple get through this sit­u­a­tion.”

North Lon­doner Paula Lent said she had taken part “to do what­ever I can to sup­port Is­rael. We need to be ac­tive and come to­gether and do some­thing. I’m do­ing it for my chil­dren, I want them to know that it’s im­por­tant to stand up for what they be­lieve in.”

UJIA’s David Gold­berg said the mis­sion had been or­gan­ised in re­sponse to a feel­ing that the UK com­mu­nity “wanted to con­nect with Is­rael, be­yond do­nat­ing and at­tend­ing com­mu­nal gath­er­ings. We put this mis­sion to­gether to give peo­ple the chance to meet the peo­ple of Is­rael and hear from them about what life has been like over th­ese past weeks. We’re very proud to have been part of this.”

Back in the UK, 65 young pro­fes­sion­als at­tended a de­bate on the sub­ject of “Why always Is­rael?” at UJIA’s Cam­den head of­fice on Tues­day. The Young UJIA event was or­gan­ised in part­ner­ship with the JC, whose ed­i­tor Stephen Pol­lard was on the panel with se­nior Is­raeli diplo­mat Rony Ye­didia-Clein and Elanit Green from the OneVoice move­ment, which works to­wards a peace­ful res­o­lu­tion. They took ques­tions from the au­di­ence and moder­a­tor Clive Shel­don, the Ma­sorti Ju­daism co-chair.

The dis­cus­sion was the sec­ond of a two-part ed­u­ca­tional se­ries, de­signed to cover the key facts and ar­gu­ments sur­round­ing the Is­rael-Pales­tinian con­flict. Young UJIA’s Vic­to­ria Ro­main ex­plained that “many young Jews don’t feel they have the knowl­edge nec­es­sary to speak about the con­flict. That’s why it’s so im­por­tant for us to reach out and give them the tools that they need.”


The UJIA Is­rael Now mis­sion at Tel Hashomer Sheba Med­i­cal Cen­tre

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