Standing With Israel

Last updated: February 28, 2024

Since being taken hostage by Hamas

BRING THEM HOME NOW!

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. 

Vigils for the Hostages

Every Tuesday & Wednesday
We are organising regular vigils for the hostages outside Parliament every Tuesday & Wednesday afternoon while Parliament is in session. If you would like to volunteer, please register your interest.

Since the horrific and ongoing terrorist attacks on Israel on the 7th of October, the Board of Deputies has been supporting the Jewish community in a number of ways. The following are some of the actions that the organisation has taken:

Activity report

Board Activity In Response To The Hamas Terror Attacks October - December 2023

The last 8 weeks have been extremely difficult for British Jews. Please see some of the many activities the Board has been engaged in to support our community at this time 

President Marie van der Zyl issued this message following the attacks.

Guidance

Events

  • Together with communal partners, the Board of Deputies organised vigils in London outside Downing Street and in central Manchester in the week following the 7th October terror attack, which were attended by thousands of Jewish community members and allies.
  • We have held a series of online Community Briefing events starting on Sunday 15th October, hosted jointly with the Community Security Trust, Jewish Leadership Council, BICOM, UJIA and UJS. The briefings include a high-level update on the situation in Israel, in addition to information about the collective work of our communal organisations. You can watch the latest briefing here on YouTube (under the Live tab).
  • On Sunday 22nd October, the Board of Deputies, Jewish Leadership Council and UJIA, organised a rally in Trafalgar Square calling for the release of the hostages taken by Hamas. Thousands attended in the largest gathering of UK Jews in recent years. Read more about it here and watch Marie van der Zyl's speech below.
  • The Board of Deputies hosted a briefing for parents of Jewish students at university, with CST, UJS and University Jewish Chaplaincy. The online event featured Higher Education Minister Robert Halfon MP, Lord John Mann and Vivienne Stern MBE, Universities UK Chief Executive. Watch a recording here.
Photo credit: Gary Perlmutter

Political engagement

  • The Board of Deputies has been in touch with political and religious leaders, receiving several letters of support, including from the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby. 

  • President of the Board of Deputies wrote to the Director General of the BBC expressing dismay at the broadcaster’s refusal to define Hamas as ‘terrorists’, despite being a proscribed terrorist organisation by the UK Government. Additionally, Marie wrote to the Secretary of State for Culture, Media, and Sport calling for an urgent review of BBC editorial guidelines. Following this correspondence, the Board of Deputies met with the Director General, where it was confirmed that it is no longer BBC practice to call Hamas 'militants'. We also instructed our solicitors, Mishcon de Raya, to make a formal complaint to Ofcom regarding the BBC’s refusal to refer to Hamas as terrorists.

  • Marie van der Zyl wrote to the Foreign Secretary James Cleverly, thanking him for calling out the BBC on its refusal to refer to Hamas as terrorists, and asking him to help facilitate flights for stranded British citizens who wish to return home. This was subsequently accomplished. Marie has also written to him reiterating the need to proscribe the IRGC, which has directly funded, trained and armed Hamas.

  • The Board of Deputies has been liaising closely with MPs from across the political spectrum with regard to the situation in Israel.

  • The House of Commons held a minute’s silence on Monday 16th October for the victims of Hamas’s atrocities, following a recommendation from the Board of Deputies.

Selected media

UK nationals in Israel

The Board of Deputies has been in constant contact with the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO). They have emphasised that it is vitally important that UK nationals in Israel register with them here. The booking portal for government-assisted departures is now closed. International commercial flights are still departing from Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv and Ramon airport in Eilat, but are limited and may be cancelled at short notice.

To call for consular assistance, please use the following numbers: 

Israeli nationals in the UK

The Board of Deputies, together with communal partners UJIA, CST, Jami, PaJeS, Resource, as well as the Jewish Agency and Embassy of Israel, arranged an online meeting with information for Israelis on support that the community is able to provide. Watch the event below (in Hebrew):

The Board of Deputies, יחד עם השותפים הקהילתיים UJIA, CST, Jami, PaJeS, Resource, כמו גם הסוכנות ושגרירות ישראל, ארגנו פגישה מקוונת עם מידע לישראלים על סיוע שהקהילה מסוגלת לספק. צפו באירוע למטה (בעברית):
The Board of Deputies Recommends:

On antisemitism

The Community Security Trust is working around the clock to keep the Jewish community safe. CST urges our community to be calm and resilient against antisemitic hatred. To see all updates and guidance, visit the CST website

If you witness anything suspicious, please report this to police on 999 IMMEDIATELY and then CST. If you experience antisemitism, please report to police on 999 (if urgent) or 101 (non-urgent) and then CST.

CST’s 24-hour National Emergency Number is 0800 032 3263 – please put this number in your contacts so it is available if you need it.

To help

  • Donate: The Board of Deputies is encouraging those wishing to donate to give money to Magen Dovid Adom UK and UJIA. You can also support the emergency appeals of WIZO and Emunah. There is no need for donated goods to be donated from abroad currently – the pressing need is for financial support. 

  • Volunteer: Israeli Ministry of Health is building a list of medical personnel from abroad to volunteer in Israel should the need arise. Information about that is here. Contact the Jewish Volunteering Network (JVN) to volunteer in the UK. 

  • Support: You can sign We Believe In Israel’s statement of solidarity with Israel here.  

To stay updated on news in Israel 

We recommend against sharing rumours on social media, and only sharing facts from reputable sources.

You can follow BICOM, UJIA and We Believe In Israel for updates on the news. 

Other links and resources

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