Jewish community reacts to shock Brexit decision

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Jewish community reacts to shock Brexit decision

Leaders reflect on how decision to leave the European Union will affect British Jews

Boris Johnson reacts to the UK's decision to leave the EU.
Boris Johnson reacts to the UK's decision to leave the EU.

Following Britain’s decision to vote to leave the European Union in a referendum, the UK community reflects on how it will impact upon British Jews.

The Board of Deputies of British Jews hoped the country “will now come together” after a campaign which has at times been “divisive and bruising”.

In a statement, they said that although they had not taken a stance on the referendum, the need for the UK Jewish community to engage with European counterparts had created a discussion within the community.

After the decision to leave was announced they added that they “will nonetheless continue to work with colleagues and organisations across Europe as part of our broader programme of advocacy on international issues of concern to the Jewish people.”

Senior Vice President Richard Verber called for people to come together to “address the causes of disenchantment and remain committed to being an inclusive and affirmative place for all parts of our society.

He added that the board would be “closely monitoring developments in the coming weeks and months and any implications these may have for our community.”

Following the outcome of the Referendum, Sir Mick Davis, Chairman of the Jewish Leadership Council, and former chair of the Prime Minister’s Holocaust Commission said: “I note with sadness the Prime Minister’s difficult decision to step down.”

“David Cameron has always been a loyal friend of the Jewish community and a visible and vocal supporter of the State of Israel.

“He has worked constructively with us, engaging on issues of concern to British Jews.

“I wish to thank him for his many years of service and for his dedication and devotion to our country.”
Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis said the campaigns have “sharply divided our country.” He added, that “the time for disagreement and division is now over.”

“It is more essential than ever before that we unite so that the ensuing political upheaval does not adversely affect the most vulnerable in our society and that our moral leadership role in the world remains undiminished.”

It is my hope and prayer that the polarisation of the national debate about Europe will now give way to a composed recognition of our common values of respect and responsibility.”

Reform Judaism’s Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner said “the campaign has been an emotional one that has at times divided our society in ways we might never have imagined.” but urged people to “move forward into a period of negotiations and redefining our relationship with the rest of Europe and the wider world.”

She added: “The United Kingdom must continue to be an outward facing society, confident of its place in the world”, calling for the country to “reject isolation.”

Rabbi Danny Rich of Liberal Judaism said “the British public has spoken”, but urged caution at the “possibility of a divided United Kingdom since Scotland, Northern Ireland and London voted by large majorities to remain in the EU whereas Wales and the rest of England took the opposite view.”

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