Celebrating Israel’s 67th anniversary, the Home Secretary said “the modern state of Israel is the fulfillment of many generations of struggle”.
Speaking of her “honour” to celebrate Israel’s Independence Day at the Finchley United Synagogue, the Home Secretary added that it was also a time to “remember the sacrifice of those who fought to achieve and protect that independence”.
Mrs May spoke about her “pleasure” of visiting Israel for the first time last summer to meet Israeli experts in cyber security and combating modern slavery – “two challenges which both Israel and the UK are confronting with great determination”.
Citing the recent passing of the Modern Slavery Act, the Home Secretary said she “learnt a great deal from the experiences of Israel, the first country in the world to pass anti-trafficking legislation”.
She also recalled how her visit was “overshadowed” by the “terrible” murder of three Israeli teenagers in the West Bank.
Marking Yom Hazikaron, a memorial day for Israel’s fallen soldiers and civilian victims of terrorism, the Home Secretary paid tribute to the “brave soldiers who pay the ultimate price to defend their fellow citizens from indiscriminate terrorist attacks and existential threats”.
Asserting that “the safety of the Jewish people can never be taken for granted”, Mrs May said it is a “tragic fact of history that the Jewish people have had to protect themselves against repeated attempts to obliterate them”.
The Home Secretary spoke at length about being “appalled” at the reported rise in anti-Semitism across Europe and in the UK, observing that “many Jewish people in this country are feeling vulnerable and fearful”.
Mrs May expressed sadness: “I never thought I would see the day when members of the Jewish community in the United Kingdom would say that they were fearful of remaining here in our country. And that means that we must all redouble our efforts to wipe out anti-Semitism here in Britain.
Observing that “without its Jews, Britain would not be Britain”, the Home Secretary said the “Jewish people have long been an important and integral part of this country”, and “We cherish the enormous contribution you make – not just in the past, but today and every day”.
Vowing to take all the action necessary to combat anti-Semitic hate crime, the Home Secretary said she was working closely with her colleagues Theresa Villiers, Mike Freer, Matthew Offord, David Burrows, Lee Scott and other MPs.
The Home Secretary recalled the Prime Minister’s recent statement that, “If the Jewish community does not feel secure then our whole national fabric is diminished”.
Mrs May asserted that “no one should live in fear because of their beliefs or who they are”, and outlined the Government’s provision of more than £11 million of funding to protect Jewish schools, synagogues and cultural centres.
The £11 million includes, £2.3 million of funding to organisations and schools to help prevent hate crime, increase reporting, and improve the operational response; £7 million to fund guards for all Jewish private schools and colleges; £3 million to protect synagogues and other Jewish community buildings – and £1.5 million to help the Community Security Trust build a state-of-the art Mission Control centre to respond rapidly to those who need their help.
Mrs May also thanked the CST for their “first-class job in providing security for events and institutions”.
Click here to watch a video of the Home Secretary’s speech.