Chief Rabbi says British Jews are more fearful than at any time since 1945

The Chief Rabbi was speaking on a visit to reassure Jewish people at a synagogue in Leeds, where ITV News was given exclusive access to his service

Britain’s Chief Rabbi has told ITV News that the Jewish community in the UK are more fearful for their safety than at any time since the end of World War II.

Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, who is also the Chief Rabbi of the Commonwealth, said rising antisemitism was causing “very deep pain”. 

"The fear that's running through the Jewish community now I think we haven't had since 1945," he said.

“And we have gone through many challenges since that time.

"Certainly it is palpable right now and it is shared by so many good people in this country who very much identify with that suffering and to whom we feel indebted."

The funeral of British-Israelis Lianne Sharabi and her two daughters, Noiya, 16, and Yahel, 13, who were killed by Hamas militants. Credit: AP

However, he accused some of those joining pro-Palestinian protests in Britain in recent weeks of supporting Hamas.

"There is a lot of anxiety and seeing so many thousands of people on the streets openly supporting the Hamas terrorists certainly has caused a lot of anxiety within in our community," he said.

There has been heated debate about the language and imagery seen during pro-Palestinian protests in recent weeks.

The protests were organised in support for Palestinians, demanding an end to Israel's bombardment of Gaza, which has resulted in the deaths of thousands of civilians. 

The Chief Rabbi's office believe only a minority of protestors in Britain also support Hamas, but they still claim that this equates to thousands of people in total. 

He was speaking on a visit to reassure Jewish people at a synagogue in Leeds, where ITV News was given exclusive access to his service.

He told the 400 people gathered that Israel would be victorious in a war which he described as “good versus evil”. 

Speaking afterwards, he told ITV News that he felt the media coverage of the war had been biased against Israel, that some “friends” of the community had been “silent" and that more should be done to deal with antisemitism.

"It would be helpful if some parts of the media would give a more balanced, accurate and fair assessment and presentation of what it is happening," he said.

“And we can benefit more from some of our friends who have been silent until now - and whose silence is quite deafening - together with greater efforts to ensure that those who are supporting evil on the streets of Britain will be dealt with in an appropriate way for a great country such as ours."

The Metropolitan Police have said there had been 218 antisemitic offences between October 1 and 18, compared to 15 in the same period last year – an increase of 1,353%.

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know...