CFI hosts Chanukah Reception in Downing Street with Foreign Secretary Lord Cameron

By December 11 2023, 14:47 Events No Comments

Conservative Friends of Israel hosted a Chanukah Reception in Downing Street with Foreign Secretary Lord Cameron, on Monday night.

Over 100 guests including Israel’s Ambassador to the UK H.E. Tzipi Hotovely, the parents and sister (Nicky, Chantal, and Miriam) of Nathanel Young – who was murdered by Hamas, and Noam Sagi, son of Ada Sagi – who was held captive by Hamas until 28 November, joined the Foreign Secretary in lighting the Chanukiah, celebrating the fifth night of Chanukah.

Addressing attendees, Lord Cameron noted that this was “a different Chanukah”; a “memorial for those cruelly murdered, a vigil for the hostages, and an act of defiance against antisemitism”. 

He declared that there was “no justification to take hostages” and that we need to “keep pressure on until the hostages are released”.

He asked “what sort of organisation takes a 75-year-old woman hostage?”

Discussing his recent visit to Israel, the Foreign Secretary, noted that even as Prime Minister, he has never “see[n] anything like Kibbutz Be’eri”. 

“We all know the difference between Israel and Hamas”, expressed Lord Cameron: “Israel uses rockets to defend its people, Hamas use people to defend its rockets”.

He labelled the “outbreaks of antisemitism” as “appalling”, that “we should not, we cannot and we must never put up with it. “From the river to the sea”, he added, means “there is no Israel – that is a genocide”. 

This Chanukah “should be about peace for the Jewish people… a rededication to the fact we want Jewish people to feel safe and loved”. “Britain without Jewish people will be a lesser country”, he exclaimed. 

Lord Cameron praised CFI for doing a “wonderful job”. “Taking young Conservatives to Israel” is “quite extraordinary”, with the CFI trip being Lord Cameron’s first visit to Israel, one which he “will never forget”.

Speaking of the trip, he said that he “saw what it is that the Jewish people have achieved there over these past decades, turning desert into fantastic agricultural land, building a modern economy, maintaining – rare for that region – a robust democracy”.

Due to the rise in “anti-Israel propaganda”, Lord Cameron noted that “that is why the work of Conservative Friends of Israel is more important today than ever before”. 

Israel’s Ambassador to the UK Tzipi Hotovely thanked the Conservative Government and CFI for their support, and underscored that the 7th of October “changed us forever.”

“Evil is still perpetrated from Gaza” and we can “not rest until [the hostages] all come back”. 

Leaving attendees with a message of hope, she noted that “light prevails over darkness”.

CFI’S Honorary President Lord Polak CBE, noted that this Chanukah was “bittersweet”, yet “lighting candles in Downing Street is quite special”.

The evening held special significance for the family of Nathanel Young, who as a student of Beit Shvidler, met then-Prime Minister David Cameron, on a school trip at a Chanukah reception at 10 Downing Street. A picture of the meeting was screened at the Reception.

Paying tribute to Nathanel, Lord Cameron said: “Here was a proud soldier, a proud musician, and a proud Jew, who went home to serve his country, only to be murdered by a brutal bunch of terrorists”. 

The Reception included the ritual lighting of the Chanukiah led by CFI Honorary President Lord Polak CBE and assisted by Lord Cameron.

Mi Shebeirach L’tzahal, the prayer for the IDF, was sang by sixth form student at Immanuel College, Eliav Stasler, accompanied by Head of Music at Immanuel College, Steve Levy, on the keyboard. 

A number of Conservative MPs and Peers also attended the Reception, including CFI Honorary President Lord Polak CBE who chaired the event, CFI Parliamentary Chairmen Rt. Hon. Stephen Crabb MP (Commons) and Rt. Hon. The Lord Pickles (Lords), and CFI Parliamentary Vice Chair Rt. Hon. Theresa Villiars MP.  

Click here for further coverage of the Reception.

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