This meet­ing proves we are stronger to­gether

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS - BY SIR MICK DAVIS

AS 2016 be­gins, we set our sights on goals for the fu­ture, as in­di­vid­u­als and as a proud, thriv­ing Bri­tish Jewish com­mu­nity.

Last year, ter­ror­ism tested us all. The at­tacks on Char­lie Hebdo, the kosher su­per­mar­ket, and the Bat­a­clan struck at the heart of France, at its val­ues and its Jewish com­mu­nity.

They re­mind us that we must not take any­thing for granted. Yet, we can say un­equiv­o­cally that we are ex­tremely for­tu­nate to be Jewish in Bri­tain and a per­fect il­lus­tra­tion of this is the com­mu­nity’s meet­ing with the Prime Min­is­ter.

This week, the Jewish Lead­er­ship Coun­cil brought to­gether com­mu­nity lead­ers to meet David Cameron. In what has be­come a fix­ture of his cal­en­dar, we made re­quests and ex­changed ideas on education, so­cial care, com­bat­ing an­tisemitism and ex­trem­ism, our re­la­tion­ship with Is­rael and more.

But this meet­ing is far more than a chance to pe­ti­tion our govern­ment. It is our op­por­tu­nity to demon­strate that we are stronger to­gether, we can unite around a com­mon pur­pose, and that Bri­tish Jews are a source of in­ge­nu­ity and cre­ativ­ity, ea­ger to con­trib­ute across Bri­tish so­ci­ety.

The govern­ment’s de­ci­sion to ac­cept 20,000 refugees who have es­caped the Syr­ian civil war is an im­por­tant moral stand. As Jewish im­mi­grants did in the past, they must now learn a new lan­guage, adopt a new cul­ture, and in­te­grate into a so­ci­ety un­known to them.

Bri­tish Jewry is com­mit­ted to do­ing its part, to hon­our the com­mand­ment to “love the stranger, for you were once strangers”, and to en­sure that those ar­riv­ing on our shores can be­gin anew. At the meet­ing, World Jewish Re­lief pre­sented to the Prime Min­is­ter a unique pro­gramme aimed at equip­ping refugees with the skills and tools to find work. It is hoped that the pi­lot pro­gramme will be fol­lowed by a full-scale ini­tia­tive en­gag­ing with govern­ment and the pri­vate and vol­un­tary sec­tors. Be­yond fa­cil­i­tat­ing a smooth tran­si­tion for refugees, we aim to help them build con­fi­dence, self­suf­fi­ciency and cre­ate a pros­per­ous fu­ture for them­selves.

This is what lead­ing as a Jewish com­mu­nity and be­ing stronger to­gether is all about. This is how we do our part to build a bet­ter United King­dom. To­gether, the Jewish refugees of old will help the Syr­ian refugees of to­day make Bri­tain their home.

This was a chance to show Bri­tish Jews are a source of in­ge­nu­ity

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