British Prime Minister Theresa May vowed to stand by the Jewish community and to fight against prejudice in all its forms, in a Hanukkah message released days before the Jewish festival of lights.
The theme of her message was religious freedom in the face of intolerance and oppression.
“As we confront the horrors of growing anti-Semitism and the appalling hate fueled terrorist attacks that we have seen across Europe, so the themes of freedom and liberty at the heart of the Hanukkah story remain as relevant as ever,” the PM said.
“For just as the Maccabees resisted oppression and kept their faith, to be rewarded by the miracle of a light that burnt for eight nights, so too must we today have the courage to stand up for our values and hold sacred our way of life.”
May stressed the importance of the Jewish community to Britain and the contribution they make to life in the country. She also reiterated her message for the Jewish New Year that she will do everything in her power to protect the Jewish community against the prejudice and extremist ideologies behind anti-Semitism and racism.
“For as long as I am Prime Minister I want you to know that I will stand alongside you and passionately defend your right to practice your faith, free from question or fear,” she said.
“Britain would simply not be Britain without its Jews,” she said.
Last week May spoke to the Conservative Party’s Friends of Israel.
Her speech was overflowing with praise and support for Israel, calling it “a remarkable country” and “a beacon of tolerance.” May said that UK ties with Israel were “crucial,” promised to raise the bilateral trade relationship to new heights, and described the Balfour Declaration as “one of the most important letters in history.”
At the same time she also castigated the opposition Labour Party for “turning a blind eye to anti-Semitism.”