By February 29 2024, 20:25 Delegations No Comments
Delegates with Speaker of the Knesset Amir Ohana (Photo credit: Noam Moskowitz | Knesset Press Office)

CFI coordinated a delegation to Israel this month for Conservative Prospective Parliamentary Candidates (PPCs) in a show of solidarity against the backdrop of the horrific massacre carried out by Hamas on 7th October. 

Delegates included: Alexander Clarkson – PPC for Stevenage, Katie Lam – PPC for Weald of Kent, Ben Obese-Jecty – PPC for Huntingdon, and Bradley Thomas – PPC for Bromsgrove. The candidates were joined by CFI Parliamentary Chairman (Commons) Rt Hon Stephen Crabb MP, and CFI Honorary President Lord Polak OBE. 

Delegates visit Kfar Aza

During the five-day trip, the PPCs visited Kfar Aza, the site of the Nova Music Festival, and vehicles used on 7th October, witnessing first-hand the devastation left behind in the aftermath of Hamas’ October massacre.

Ben Obese-Jecty, a former member of the British Armed Forces, reflected on his visit to Kfar Aza stating that it “bares all of the hallmarks of the devastation that everyone heard about”. He noted that “going into some of these homes is incredibly sobering”. 

Ben Obese-Jecty PPC reflects on his visit to Kfar Aza

For Bradley Thomas, visiting Kfar Aza “really brought alive…the sheer brutality, and the extent of the hatred towards Israel”. 

The delegates were also shown a 47-minute video compiled by the IDF, documenting Hamas’ atrocities which were captured by bodycams worn by terrorists as well as CCTV footage.

Bradley Thomas PPC reflects on CFI’s visit to Kfar Aza

At the site of the Nova Music Festival, Alex Clarkson paid a special tribute to British-born Jake Marlowe who was murdered at the festival. 

Alex underscored how “people who were dancing for freedom… ended up being caught up in the worst killing of Jews since the Holocaust”.

Alex Clarkson PPC at the site of the Nova Music Festival

Visiting the ‘vehicle graveyard’ of vehicles used by Hamas to carry out the massacre on October 7th, vehicles used by Israelis trying to escape, and emergency service vehicles trying to save lives but also attacked by Hamas, CFI Parliamentary Chairman (Commons) Rt Hon Stephen Crabb MP, spoke of each vehicle having “a story to tell about Israeli lives being lost, and people being brutally attacked”. 

The site, he adds, “does tell a story, of just the sheer scale of the terror, and the destruction that took place”. 

CFI Parliamentary Chair (Commons) Rt Hon Stephen Crabb MP at ‘vehicle graveyard’ of the 7th of October

The group also visited the Hostages and Missing Families Forum, meeting with five families whose loved ones are still being held captive in Gaza, and listening to their fears.

Delegates then walked around Hostage Square in Tel Aviv, featuring art installations calling for the release of all hostages.

A 25-meter Hamas replica tunnel has also been erected, simulating the dark, claustrophobic tunnels, where hostages are known to be held. 

Ben Obese-Jecty PPC at the Hostages and Missing Families Forum
Replica of Hamas terror tunnel in Hostage Square, Tel Aviv

The PPCs met with Speaker of the Knesset Amir Ohana, as well as MKs from the Israel-UK Friendship Caucus Hanoch Milwidsky and Shelly Tal Meron.

The group also joined British Ambassador to Israel H.E. Ambassaor Simon Walters for dinner. 

Katie Lam PPC shares her experience of visiting Beit Halochem and Save A Child’s Heart

As part of the diverse itinerary, candidates visited two charities focusing on rehabilitation and lifesaving treatment.

Candidates spent the morning at Beit Halochem, a charity which supports disabled IDF veterans and victims of terror.

Delegates watched a moving performance by Israeli wheelchair dancer, Maytal Wax, who lost her leg in a terrorist attack in 1996, when a suicide-bomb was detonated outside the Dizengoff Centre in Tel Aviv; as well as participating in a game of wheelchair basketball.

Delegates also spent time at Save a Child’s Heart (SACH) children’s home based in Holon; a charity which have provided over 6600 life-saving surgeries for children from over 68 countries.

Ben-Obese Jecty said that the trip has been “a very valuable experience” and that the “week has been incredibly important in terms of understanding.

Bradley Thomas called the trip “an eye-opener”, with the standout being “the fortitude and resilience of the Israeli people.” “They are going through something we cannot comprehend back at home, but they have resilience in abundance”, he added.

Alex Clarkson said of Israel that “he feels at home here” because the “country believes in love, it believes in freedom, it believes in being who you are”. 

Katie Lam noted that Israel is “a nation under incredible strain, after an unimaginably barbaric terror attack on the 7th of October. What Hamas has done is traumatise these people… but we have come here to bear witness”.

Katie Lam PPC: “We have come here to bear witness”
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