Chief Rabbi Mirvis.

Chief Rabbi Mirvis.

The Chief Rabbi has called for a major rethink on the debate about migration and refugees.

Ephraim Mirvis made said there was an ‘urgent need to reframe the debate’, in light of conjecture over how many refugees Britain should take in. 

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So far Britain has accepted just over 200 refugees – a fraction of those of other European countries – though the prime Minister has now indicated that shelter will be offered to thousands more.

He posted on his Facebook page: “The cold, blanket characterisation of refugees as a burden upon our society and our economy is wholly irresponsible.

There needs to be a paradigm shift in mindset.

The men, women and children whose lives have been devastated by war and persecution, who are among the most vulnerable in the world, are not mere statistics in a news report, they are real people.

We have an immediate responsibility and moral imperative to rehumanise this debate and only then will we be in a position to begin to address it.

As Jews, many of us have family members who were refugees and our heritage must inform the way that we respond to this crisis. 

This is a deep and tragic humanitarian emergency. I wholeheartedly support all efforts seeking to alleviate the widespread suffering, and urge our Jewish community to provide a compassionate response at this great time of need.”

Community leaders have joined widespread calls for David Cameron to do more to take in asylum seekers and fulfil the UK’s “moral responsibility” as the humanitarian crisis worsens.