‘Murder is murder’: North London Rabbis react to violence in Israel and Palestine

13:00 11 July 2014

Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg

Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg

Copyright © 2010 Marion Davies

Prominent representatives of Jewish and Muslim communities in north London have issued a united call for “calm” in Israel and Palestine as many fear for the safety of relatives and consider cancelling annual holidays to the area.

Rabbi Neil JanesRabbi Neil Janes

Separate trips to Jerusalem and the West Bank were taken last week by both Maajid Nawaz, the Lib Dem parliamentary candidate for Hampstead and Kilburn, and prominent north London Rabbi, Jonathan Wittenberg.

They arrived as the bodies of three missing young Israelis were discovered, believed to have been kidnapped and murdered by Palestinian extremists.

It was followed by the “revenge killing” of a Palestinian boy, thought to have been burned alive by Israeli extremists.

Tensions continue to escalate over the killings, with Hamas militants firing rockets into Israel and Israeli forces shelling Gaza.

Lib Dem parliamentary candidate Maajid NawazLib Dem parliamentary candidate Maajid Nawaz

The rise in violence has seen members of the Jewish community in Hampstead and Highgate fearing for the safety of relatives and loved ones in Israel – with many now rethinking their annual family holidays to the state.

Rabbi Wittenberg, a leading Jewish figure based at New North London Synagogue in Finchley, said “de-escalation” was the message many in his community wanted to spread.

“There’s a deeply sad mood to all this in Israel as well as in my own community here in north London,” he said.

“There is sadness for the parents of the three Israeli boys, and there is real pain and sorrow for the killing of the Palestinian boy.

“Revenge won’t bring back those killed. Because of what it entails for both sides, I’m really hoping it won’t come to any further escalation in violence.”

The Foreign Office has advised against non-essential travel to areas of Israel “within 40km of the border with Gaza” and issued warnings over travelling to Jerusalem and near Jewish settlements.

Mr Nawaz, visiting the area with the Lib Dem Friends of Israel, said: “The priority now should be de-escalation.

“It’s not in the interest of the extremists on either side to reach a settlement. They feed off each other in these situations.

“So we have to all of us look at the conflict with a level head and ditch the dogma.

“Palestinians need a state and Israelis need security. Those are the priorities we need to think about going forward.”

Rabbi Shlomo Levin, of the South Hampstead Synagogue in Eton Villas, said young Jews in his community booked on organised trips to Israel were being advised to stay away from major cities and religious sites.

Rabbi Neil Janes, of the Liberal Jewish Synagogue, said: “There’s just a sense of despair in our community over the whole situation. But Judaism is founded on hope, so we shall pray for peace.”


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Hampstead Highgate Express visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Hampstead Highgate Express staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Hampstead Highgate Express account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest Hampstead & Highgate News Stories

Yesterday, 08:54

Cyclists say they are lucky nobody was seriously injured after tacks were discovered on the roads inside Regents Park as the row over a proposed new cycle superhighway in north west London escalates.

Yesterday, 08:18

Mental health campaigner Marjorie Wallace may have just won a Woman of the Year award, but she believes care is not much better than 30 years ago

Saturday, October 22, 2016

A colourful man-about-town has reformed his fringe political party on the back of the Brexit result - which he said is “a step in the right direction” towards abolishing the existing system

Friday, October 21, 2016

Controversial plans to build a 10-storey “big ugly block” of luxury flats in Hampstead were last night waved through by Camden Council.

Friday, October 21, 2016

A row has broken out over plans to dig out a basement car park and swimmming pool next to Hampstead Heath.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

A heritage campaigner has told of his devastation after he watched raiders ransack a disused pub that he fought to preserve.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

A historic red phone box in Highgate Village could soon be a tiny office space, complete with printing, scanning, copying and wifi

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Camden parents were forced to pay a total of £20,000 in school fines in the last year, new figures have revealed.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Most read Hampstead & Highgate news


Show Job Lists

Property Newsletter Sign-up

Get the latest North London property news and features straight to your inbox with our regular newsletter

I am also happy to receive other emails...
Fields marked with a * are mandatory
Email Marketing by e-shot


Cosmetics, toiletries, vitamins and more. Boots is the number one choice when it comes to purchasing daily essentials.

If you’re obsessed with Apple or just love a good gadget, this is a prize that will blow you away! An incredible £3,333 to spend on Apple goodies! How would you like to be the proud new owner of the Apple Watch?

Digital Edition


Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today


Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now