Board of Deputies holds solidarity mission to Israel

The Board Honorary Officers at Sheba Tel Hashomer Hospital under a sign saying “When we are all together, there is no limit to hope. Photo © Board of Deputies, 2024

28 February 2024

The Board of Deputies was privileged to organise a mission to show the solidarity of the British Jewish community with the people of Israel. We were honoured to meet and hear the testimonies of some of those most impacted by Hamas’ October 7th pogrom.

Earlier this week, all the Board of Deputies’ Honorary Officers and Chief Executive, along with Deputies and representatives of Board member organisations, spent three days in Israel to express our solidarity with the people of Israel most directly impacted by the Hamas pogrom of October 7. We visited the town of Sderot where Hamas terrorists murdered civilians and attacked a police station. Both there and elsewhere in the communities around Gaza, we met extraordinary people whose stories moved us all deeply.

“The purpose of this trip was to show our solidarity with the people of Israel – to make sure that they feel that they aren’t alone, that our community cares deeply for them and that the Jewish world is thinking of them. Every person we met, with their incredible and heart-breaking stories, made clear that they were grateful that we had been there to speak with them and to show that we care. They asked that we make sure that people don’t forget what Hamas did on October 7th. It was a powerful, moving, mission and I was truly struck by the resilience of every Israeli we met.”

Marie van der Zyl, President of the Board 

We went to the site of the Nova music festival where we met with a survivor of this event where so many young people were murdered, wounded, and kidnapped. The Board Delegation met Ditza Or, the mother of Avinatan who was kidnapped from the party with his girlfriend Noa Argamani. Both Avinatan and Noa have been ‘adopted’ by UK Synagogues as part of the national initiative of the Board of Deputies.

We met first responders to the October 7 attack, both in the south and also in Tel Aviv at a rehabilitation centre for the wounded.

The trip also included a meeting with Professor Jonathan Rynhold of Bar Ilan University who gave an overview of the regional and international situation. We also had a conversation with H.E Simon Walters, the British Ambassador to Israel, at his official residence.

Among these meetings, the group were also able to spend time volunteering to support the agricultural sector, which has been deeply affected by the attack on farming communities including the murder of foreign workers by Hamas terrorists.

Lucy Ross from FZY said: “This trip was a life changing experience and to be able to meet so many people affected by October 7th and to hear their stories was heart-breaking, but extremely important. To be in the country at this time allowed us to understand the grave effect the massacre has had on everyone. Now we have a duty to keep their stories alive and educate about what we have learnt. I am grateful to the Board of Deputies for this amazing trip which I will never forget and the amazing people I was privileged to hear from. Am Yisrael chai!”

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