Several prospective delegates to Limmud Conference have been stopped from coming into the UK on immigration grounds.
Six Jews – Serge Etele from Cameroon’s Beit Yeshourun group and five women from Ukraine – were denied visas by the Home Office, while thousands of delegates from 27 countries are expected to take part in the week-long conference of Jewish culture, which begins on Friday.
Limmud chairman Kevin Sefton described the conference as a “wonderful international festival”, adding: “We’re disappointed whenever people are unable to obtain visas in order to join us as participants and invited presenters.We are pleased such instances are rare and we work with the authorities with the aim of enabling a person to participate in our events.”
Holocaust historian Deborah Lipstadt, best-selling author and Israeli political analyst Ari Shavit, and Hollywood comedian Avi Liberman will join former ‘Prisoner of Zion’ Yosef Mendelevitch, Jewish Agency chairman Natan Sharansky, and Palestinian human rights activists Aziz Abu Sarah and Bassem Eid at the conference.
Also attending, among more than 500 presenters will be Udi Lion, creator of award-winning Israeli television series Meorav Yerushalmi (‘Jerusalem Brew’) and Avodah Aravit (‘Arab Labour’), Jewish-Muslim slam poetry team Hannah Halpern and Amina Iro, as well as Caroline Wyatt, BBC religious affairs correspondent.
Limmud co-chairman Shana Boltin said: “We continue to confront the thorniest issues facing Israel and Jews the world over – be it anti-Semitism in Europe, engaging the disengaged or the ongoing impact of the summer’s conflict in Gaza.”