A Jewish human rights organisation is calling on Jews to help push the government to do more to help refugees seeking to enter the UK.
Writing in Jewish News this week, Jewish Council for Racial Equality (JCORE) director Edie Friedman said that Jewish families meeting during the upcoming holidays should reflect on those families who were being stopped from doing so.
“New beginnings are something we think a lot about during Rosh Hashanah,” she says. “During this high holyday period we have time to reflect on the many demands and obligations made on us- personal, societal, communal.
“We do this in the presence of our family, friends and community. So it is an appropriate time to think about other families in difficult circumstances, and how government action can enable some of them to be reunited, and help young people make a fresh start.”
The campaign being supported by JCORE, called ‘Let the Children In,’ pushes for a legal change to allow entry to refugee children with close relatives in the UK, in order to avoid the life-threatening journeys many are making to get here.
Friedman said children are currently at risk of exploitation “at every turn in their attempt to reach the UK,” adding: “Soon the shofar will be sounded, reawakening our senses and calling us to action. We must now call the government into action to simply do the right thing.”
World Jewish Relief has helped more than 20,000 Syrian refugees in Greece, Turkey and the UK since launching its second appeal in September 2015, as millions made their way out of warzones in the Middle East and north Africa.
Almost £1 million was raised in less than 12 months, in what was described as an act of “exceptional” generosity from the Jewish community, but many were left frustrated at the Conservative government’s reluctance to help bring unaccompanied child refugees to the UK.
Labour peer Lord Alf Dubs, himself a Jewish refugee who came over on the Kindertransport, led cross-party efforts which saw the government guarantee safe haven for 3,000 children, but Home Secretary Amber Rudd ended the scheme earlier this year after only 200 children had been brought to Britain.