British Rabbis Call on Cameron to Admit More Syrian Refugees

Open letter's signatories includes two people who fled to Britain to escape Nazis.

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British Prime Minister David Cameron leaving his official residence on Wednesday, September 9, 2015.
British Prime Minister David Cameron leaving his official residence on Wednesday, September 9, 2015.Credit: AP

More than 100 British rabbis and cantors have signed onto a letter to British Prime Minister David Cameron urging that the United Kingdom expand its plans to take in refugees fleeing the civil war in Syria and recalling the 10,000 Jewish children that the U.K. rescued from the Nazi threat between 1938 and 1940.

Among those who delivered the letter to the prime minister's official residence Monday were two people who came to Britain in the rescue operation that began in 1938, the so-called Kindertransport, The Guardian website reported, and many of the signatories to the letter were children of Jewish refugees.

"With such stories to teach us values, we know that now 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 letter stated.

"We were heartened to hear that 20,000 refugees will be welcomed into the U.K. over the next five years. Yet we look again to World War II where we find that immediate action could have saved many more children’s lives. Let the Kindertransport be our inspiration. 10,000 legitimate refugees, at the very minimum, should be offered asylum in Great Britain in the next 6 months."

The letter also urged the British government to revisit its asylum policies, particularly so that the refugees would be allowed to work in the U.K.

The British Jewish community is ready to find homes for refugees and raise money to feed, clothe and educate the newcomers, the letter says. “Let all our children one day tell the story of a nation that listened to the cry of the stranger in need,” it concludes.

The letter follows a similar plea by former British chief rabbi Jonathan Sacks to act boldly in the face of the current refugee crisis, the Guardian noted, adding that the archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, the senior bishop of the Church of England, has offered a home to one or two Syrian refugee families in a cottage on the grounds of his official London residence. The Vatican has also taken in a family of four refugees from Syria, the Guardian reported.

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