Tuesday night’s mayoral hustings for the Jewish community saw the launch of the London Jewish Forum’s 2016 Manifesto, a detailed account of Jewish priorities in London to which all the candidates said they were signatories, writes Jenni Frazer.
The Manifesto consists of five major areas of concern to the Jewish community. They are: education, employment and young people; community safety, cohesion and antisemitism; health and social care; heritage and social action; and housing and transport.
Each section asks for two pledges from the next mayor of London. Under education, employment, and young people, for example, the candidates were asked to endorse pledges “to support, and champion Jewish schools in London, planning for future population growth and greater numbers of Jewish school places”. Additionally the new mayor has been asked to recognise the role of Jewish youth organisations in their contribution both to the Jewish community, and through social action to wider society, and to encourage their continued support by local government and agencies within the city,”
The housing and transport section notes that “many young Jews, in common with their non-Jewish counterparts, have become priced out of owning their own home in the community they grew up in”, and observes that the problem is significantly worse for the strictly Orthodox Jews whose family and communities are no longer in walking distance of their homes. The Manifesto asks the next London mayor to pledge “to commit to and provide for the specific housing needs of the Jewish community alongside the needs of our non-Jewish neighbours, with affordable new housing for purchase and rent, including homes for larger families located in areas close to community amenities”.
The second pledge asks the next mayor to ensure improved transport links in the capital, particularly to provide a direct bus route from Stamford Hill to Golders Green”.
The Manifesto notes that Jewish social care, including adult and learning disabled support and mental health services, “continues to be underfunded by local authorities” and asks for a serious improvement in its funding.
And on the renewed question of community safety and antisemitism, the Manifest asks the next mayor to ensure that such issues remain a priority for City Hall and that the Mayor’s Office of Policing and Crime continues to work closely with the Jewish community and, specifically, the CST and the London Jewish Forum.