British Jews were preparing to remember the fallen this weekend, with the Jewish community’s Ceremony of Remembrance at the Cenotaph at Whitehall on Sunday, with organisers warning that marchers need tickets this year.
The 2019 change, introduced at the behest of the Metropolitan Police, means that those who want to march without tickets will have to go through additional security checks and must show two forms of identification, including one photo ID.
Ahead of its annual parade, the Association of Jewish Ex-Servicemen and Women (AJEX) said: “In a change from previous years, and at the request of the Met Police, all those wishing to march must have a ticket enabling them to do so.”
Tickets, which will be named and numbered, can be generated online through the AJEX website. Those marching to the Cenotaph need to assemble by 13.30 at Horse Guards Parade.
Spectators who do not wish to march do not need a ticket and can simply assemble on Whitehall between the Cenotaph and Banqueting House at 14.30. AJEX members can take part in a reunion lunch beforehand if they wish.
Organisers said visitors would be travelling from countries including the United States, Israel and France, and that participant numbers have increased markedly over the past three years, with last year’s attendance topping 2,000.
“Jews from the UK and the Commonwealth served this country in disproportionately high numbers, arguably more than any other minority group,” said AJEX chair Mike Bluestone, adding: “The parade is our opportunity to pay our respect to the war dead of all faiths.”
Bluestone recalled how the ALEX Parade was first held to combat antisemitism “as the popular cry was that Jews did not serve,” pointing out that “five members of our community were awarded Victoria Crosses in WWI alone”.
He said: “We now see antisemitism on the rise here, in Europe and the US, so it is once again important that we fly the flag and show that we did serve loyally, we paid the price, and continue to serve today. It is also our way of saying thank you to this country.”
Up to 2,000 Jewish veterans and armed forces personnel are expected to be joined by schools, community organisations and youth groups, as well as the Jewish Police Association and families and supporters.
Around 300 Jewish soldiers died in the First World War, and 75,000 served in the Second World War, but AJEX leaders routinely emphasise that “Jews have been serving the sovereign for over 300 years”.