web analytics
September 23, 2014 / 28 Elul, 5774
At a Glance
News & Views
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



Thatcher Remembered For Befriending UK Jews And Maintaining Strong Ties With Israel


Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher

Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher

WASHINGTON – History will remember former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher for relentlessly facing down communism and helping to turn back more than three decades of socialist advance in her country.

But it was Thatcher’s embrace of British Jews and insistent promotion of Jews in her Conservative Party that inspired an outpouring of tributes from Jewish and Israeli leaders following her death Monday at 87.

Thatcher, who suffered from dementia in her later years, died peacefully after suffering a stroke, her spokesperson said.

Thatcher’s tenure as prime minister, from 1979 to 1990, helped thrust Britain back onto the international stage following its post-World War II years of end-of-empire angst and political turmoil.

For the country’s Jews, however, her naming of several of their number to Cabinet positions and her determined pushback against anti-Jewish grumbling among the Conservative Party’s backbenchers made what once was unimaginable: the possibility of a Jewish prime minister.

“Lady Thatcher was always extremely supportive and admiring of the ethos of the British Jewish community,” Vivian Wineman, the president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, told JTA.

Wineman said the mutual admiration was rooted in personal history. In the 1930s, Thatcher’s family took in an Austrian Jewish refugee. In 1959, Thatcher was elected to Parliament representing Finchley, a north London constituency with a large Jewish population.

“She counted a number of Jews among her closest advisers and confidants, and at one point nearly a quarter of her Cabinet were of Jewish origins,” Wineman said.

Moshe Maor, a Hebrew University political science professor whose expertise is Britain, said Thatcher admired the British Jewish community’s self-reliance, an ethos she embraced as she dedicated herself to weaning Britons off public assistance.

“Thatcher admired hard work, and the Jewish community was not dependent on the state,” Maor said. “It was structured in such a way that Jews help others in their community. That was the culture Thatcher tried to advance.”

It was one also embraced by Britain’s late chief rabbi, Immanuel Jakobovits, whom Thatcher elevated to the House of Lords. Frustrated by protests among Christian leaders of the rapid pace of her economic reforms, she increasingly turned for spiritual reinforcement to Jakobovits, who became widely known as “Thatcher’s rabbi.”

Thatcher’s rule coincided with social changes among the country’s 350,000 Jews. Once proudly working class, British Jews by the 1980s had become increasingly middle class, more likely to be self-employed and alarmed at the leftward lurch of the leadership in the Labor Party.

“She got on quite well with Jews,” Wineman said. “She said once that she thought she probably had more constituents in Tel Aviv than in Finchley.”

Thatcher never hesitated to advance the careers of talented young Jews in her party – among them Leon Brittan, a secretary of trade; Nigel Lawson, a chancellor of the exchequer; Edwina Currie, a health minister; Malcolm Rifkind, a secretary of state for Scotland; and Michael Howard, a secretary of employment.

Rifkind went on to become foreign minister. Howard became home secretary and then opposition leader, burying forever the notion that a British leader had to come from the country’s official faith, Anglicanism.

Thatcher’s embrace of the Jewish community did not make its romance with the Tories a permanent one. Tony Blair’s purges of the Labor left after his 1997 election helped draw back some Jewish voters. But Howard’s precedent helped set the stage for ascension of the current leader of the Labor Party, Ed Miliband, the son of Polish Jewish immigrants.

Thatcher also earned kudos for her robust foreign policy and maintaining strong ties with Israel at a time of tension between the Jewish state and other European nations. “She was truly a great leader, a woman of principle, of determination, of conviction, of strength; a woman of greatness,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement Monday. “She was a staunch friend of Israel and the Jewish people. She inspired a generation of political leaders.”

Thatcher restored the notion of Britain shining everywhere the sun rose when she launched a war in 1982 to keep Argentina from claiming the Falkland Islands. After the war was won Thatcher was ready to take on the mantle of Iron Lady vs. Iron Curtain. She became President Ronald Reagan’s indispensable partner in squeezing the life out of Soviet hegemony.

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Thatcher Remembered For Befriending UK Jews And Maintaining Strong Ties With Israel”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Yamam Hebron Shootout
Israel SWAT Team Exchanging Fire with Hamas Kidnappers in Hebron [video]
Latest News Stories

Immigration to Israel this year was up 28% compared to the previous year. An estimated total of 24,800 new immigrants arrived to Israel throughout the course of the year.

Yamam Hebron Shootout

The YAMAM counter terrorist unit killed the 2 terrorists. This is part of that video.

The two were traveling on stolen Israeli passports, and had changed the photos to their own.

The renewed ceasefire talks between Israel and Hamas ended peacefully for the day.

“In the Middle East today, there is one country where Christianity is not only not persecuted, but affectionately granted freedom of expression, freedom of worship and security. It is Israel, the Jewish State. “

ISIS has launched a global campaign to encourage Muslims to murder non-Muslims.

A French citizen is abducted and his life is now threatened by an ISIS group in Algeria.

“What we are seeing here in New York today is not an artistic expression that challenges the limits of morality, but a moral deformity that challenges the limits of the art.

Dr. Boaz Ganor, co-founder and executive director of the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism at the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) in Herzliya, Israel, calls Hamas and Hizbullah “hybrid” terrorist organizations.

A travel terror attack was foiled Tuesday on a road near Ashdod thanks to the alert eyes of the Israeli public and police.

Four Arab teens are indicted in connection with Sept. 7 attack on French Hill gas station.

PM Netanyahu has sent out his Rosh HaShana greeting to Jews around the world.

The IDF shot down a Syrian fighter jet that infiltrated Israeli air space, using a Patriot missile.

PA Chairman Abbas sent a message to Israeli PM Netanyahu in advance of the UN General Assembly: “End the occupation. Make peace.”

PM Netanyahu’s unprecedented NIS 2b development plan for southern Israel was approved Tuesday.

More Articles from Ron Kampeas

It’s not yet clear if Nemmouche was acting on orders and, if so, whether the orders came from ISIS.

Capital-Bldg-091214

“The Jewish community is going to have to work harder,” said one veteran official who has worked both as a professional in the Jewish community and a staffer for a Jewish lawmaker.

President Obama in an April 25 press conference seemed ready to take a break. “There may come a point at which there just needs to be a pause and both sides need to look at the alternatives,” he said.

Obama himself suggested that a break from the process may be necessary.

But Israel’s stance is not sufficiently consequential to set off a fight between friends, neoconservative scholars said.

Tensions between Russia and the West are mounting over the Russian military takeover of the Crimean Peninsula, with the United States and European countries threatening to impose sanctions.

Expansive outreach, of course, is nothing new for AIPAC. But in the wake of battles over Iran sanctions legislation that pitted the pro-Israel lobbying powerhouse against the White House, many congressional Democrats and liberals more generally, AIPAC’s traditional emphasis on Israel as a bipartisan issue has taken on added urgency.

Administration officials and Jewish groups sympathetic to Kerry’s initiative say there is a longer-term agenda in preempting attacks on the framework peace agreement the Obama administration is expected to propose soon.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/global/europe/thatcher-remembered-for-befriending-uk-jews-and-maintaining-strong-ties-with-israel/2013/04/10/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: