News Daily Spot: Rabbis urge David Cameron to speed up refugee scheme

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Rabbis urge David Cameron to speed up refugee scheme

Source: TheGuardian
More than 100 rabbis have delivered a letter to David Cameron urging him to accelerate and expand proposals for the UK to take in refugees fleeing the civil war in Syria, reminding the prime minister of those who welcomed Jews fleeing the Nazis last century.
Among delegates handing in the letter at No 10 on Monday morning were two people who came to the UK on the Kindertransport, which rescued 10,000 Jewish children from the Nazi threat between 1938 and 1940. Many of the rabbis who signed the letter were the children of refugees.
The group calls on the British government to offer asylum to a minimum of 10,000 “legitimate refugees” in the next six months. Cameron has said the government is willing to take 20,000 refugees over five years. Their letter also urges the government to re-examine asylum policies, in particular to allow refugees to work.
The letter says: “As rabbis and cantors we regularly read the story of a band of refugees who escaped from a tyrant with only the clothes on their backs and a bit of flat bread. They crossed a sea, and they dreamed of a promised land. We call this the exodus, and it is our founding beacon for hope, and our constant reminder in every generation to open our hearts and our doors to the stranger at our gates.”
It goes on: “We also remember and speak about the brave and committed citizens of this country who opened their homes to welcome 10,000 children fleeing Hitler. We call this the Kindertransport, and it is again our beacon for hope in the values of Great Britain. A light of human kindness that shines into the darkest corners of history.”
Now, say the signatories, “it is our turn to open our gates to refugees who are fleeing from tyranny and evil, often with only the clothes on their backs, and their children in their arms”.
The Jewish community is ready to find homes for refugees and raise funds for food, clothing and education, the letter says. It concludes: “Let all our children one day tell the story of a nation that listened to the cry of the stranger in need.”
The letter echoes a call by the former chief rabbi Jonathan Sacks this month for Britain to make a bold gesture in the face of the refugee crisis similar to the Kindertransport. He said the scheme saved thousands of Jewish children before the second world war broke out, and a “very clear and conspicuous humanitarian gesture, like Kindertransport” was needed now.
The archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has offered a home to one or two Syrian refugee families in a cottage in the grounds of Lambeth Palace in London. The costs were to be paid from charitable funds under the archbishop’s personal control, said a spokeswoman.
And the Vatican has taken in a family of four Syrian refugees following Pope Francis’s call for every Catholic parish to offer sanctuary.

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