Israeli ultra-Orthodox leader to receive UK honor

Queen will award Isaac Schapira the Order of the British Empire

Gavriel Fiske is a reporter at The Times of Israel

Isaac Schapira (photo credit: Ben Kelmer/British Embassy)
Isaac Schapira (photo credit: Ben Kelmer/British Embassy)

Queen Elizabeth II of England will award one of the UK’s highest civilian honors to Isaac Schapira, an ultra-Orthodox Israeli citizen.

Schapira, the son of the late United Torah Judaism party leader Rabbi Abraham Yosef Schapira, will be given the Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire award for “strengthening the ties between the UK and the Haredi community,” the British embassy said in a press release Tuesday.

The prize, one of the UK’s highest government honors given to civilians and non-British citizens, is to be awarded at an upcoming Buckingham Palace ceremony by the queen. The award will not grant the use of the honorific “sir” before Schapira’s name.

Schapira said he was “deeply honored” to receive the award, which he said showed “a great respect for our community.”

“I have been proud to witness for myself the British government’s warmth and supportive attitude toward our community,” he added.

Schapira has “helped us build a friendship and understanding between Britain and the Haredi community,” British Ambassador to Israel Matthew Gould said, and noted that Schapira has devoted “many years” to helping a series of British ambassadors build “friendship and understanding” with the ultra-Orthodox community, a “vital and important part of Israeli society.”

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