I am writing this on Remembrance Sunday, the day after an anti-Semitic hate march in London was allowed to go ahead by police despite dire advance warnings, after which police boasted that everything had been OK, except for bad apples from 'the right'. Actually, dear police, most Jews stayed home on Saturday and those who ventured out to Shul were greeted with extreme violence by pro Hamas mobs, which you just stood by and watched. There is no doubt, and I say this from experience, that the police in this country are corrupt and under the grip of militant Islam.
In the five weeks since that fateful day on October 7, the Jewish community (those who have dared to venture out of their house to attend Shul) have gone through the Genesis stories of Bereshit (the creation of light from dark); the story of Noach who did what he was told, stayed in his ark, and ended up disgraced; Lech Lecha, in which Abraham is told to leave his known world for pastures new, constantly learning how to think outside of the box (incidentally the same word in Hebrew as 'ark'); plus, we have encountered the stories of Isaac, 'Chayei Sarah' (the lives of Sarah), and the encounter with Rivkah, whom Isaac marries.
During these five weeks, we have also been addressed by the Deputy Mayor of Jerusalem, Fleur Hassan-Nahoum, who told us that we have a real problem in the UK, which we, the Jewish community, have to do something about it. She feels, she says, more safe in Israel now than in the England of her childhood.
Very recently, Fleur, with whom I chatted for around twenty minutes online, was appointed by Israel's Foreign Minister as his Special Envoy for Innovation.
Same message from Rabbi Leo Dee, whose wife and two daughters were massacred around Pesach – by Muslim terrorists on the West Bank. Rabbi Dee, who was recently appointed Israel's Special Envoy for Social Initiatives, told us that the story of Noach contains the word 'Hamas', which in Hebrew means 'violence', but in Aramaic also means 'kidnap'. And it also means 'lying', by the way. All of which has been in evidence lately. He told us that we in England had to be spokespeople, as all the English speakers in Israel are unavailable right now, fighting for the life of the nation and that therefore it was up to us to send the right message to the British.
He also stated that, having allowed in millions who use this country as a staging ground to attack civilization, if we don't look out, then sharia law – already much in evidence to be honest - will be compulsory for all in around 20 years, and there will no longer be room in this country for Jews.
As for the BBC, enough has been said about their disgusting ongoing reporting. But Sky News, with its links to Qatar, home to the Hamas leadership, is also more than culpable.
But on the plus side, we had this report from Israel on how women are getting together to improve the lives of those on the ground, chaired by my daughter Kalela.
In addition, nearly every member of our two Jewish Christian dialogue groups (the one whose 15th anniversary is coming up shortly, and the more theologically oriented group, around for about eight years – since the Archbishop of Canterbury and Bishop of Manchester both publicly blamed 'the Jews' for the Isis Paris massacre which took place in November 2015) has come up trumps and supported the war effort in Israel by donating what they could, and some are doing this on an ongoing basis.
These include a very generous donation from leading Canadian theologian and educator, Dr Jonathan Milevsky of Toronto, whose book on interfaith dialogue I have reviewed for Christian Today.
We have also received a donation for the war effort from an Anglican church in Bolton, Greater Manchester, which very sadly but understandably has asked me not to name. Why? Well, the Bishop of Manchester isn't exactly supportive of Israel, to put it mildly, and in addition, the church itself is now surrounded by mosques. Exactly the scenario described by Rabbi Leo Dee in his address to us via the National Jewish Council. Instead of incomers having to abide by our rules, we have to abide by theirs. No wonder there is a backlash. We have had around 30 years to sort this out and have done nothing but appease our would-be destroyers, and this is now the result, playing out before our eyes on a daily basis.
I addressed this Bolton church on Sunday October 29 and much admired their service of solidarity with the Jewish people and the penetrating questions they asked me after the service and after my address.
I would like to end with a quote from the great, incomparable and much-missed Chief Rabbi Shear Yashuv Cohen of Haifa, who spent an entire year trying to stop his beloved country of Israel from disengaging from Gaza in 2005. He knew exactly what would happen and said so. He even spoke to PM Ariel Sharon, whose chaplain he had been in 1973, during the Yom Kippur War. The disengagement from Gaza that Sharon stubbornly pursued ended their friendship and these are the words of Chief Rabb Shear Yashuv Cohen:
"Medinat Israel, the State of Israel ... came into being to protect and preserve our core values under all circumstances. These are values of holiness, regarding which the existence of the State and its institutions is merely a tool by which to bring these values to fruition.
"We, the Jewish people, were vouchsafed three intrinsic and sacred values which we have been to commanded to observe and preserve. These are Torat Israel, Am Israel and Eretz Israel – Torah, People and Land. The State of Israel arose out of the ashes of the Shoah in order to safeguard and protect Am Israel, to serve as a vehicle by which our people would gradually be restored to their rightful home in Eretz Israel, eventually engendering an inner spiritual return – teshuva – of the entire house of Israel to Torah Israel, as our prophets prophesied.
"This is the reason for the existence of the State of Israel ... as expressed in Israel's Declaration of Independence. This begins with the following words: 'In the Land of Israel, the Jewish people came into being ...."
With all that in mind, I would like to invite you to our 15th anniversary dialogue group celebration on Sunday November 26, which is open to all by Zoom. Our guest speaker, Jonathan Turner KC, was invited before the events of October 7 and their dire repercussions. But I can't think of a more suitable guest at this time. He is an expert on the legal aspects of War and I suggest that you try and attend.
RSVP by 17 November to Dr Irene Lancaster, Chair of BPDG firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr Irene Lancaster is a Jewish academic, author and translator who has established university courses on Jewish history, Jewish studies and the Hebrew Bible. She trained as a teacher in modern Languages and Religious Education.