Jewish groups and leaders in the United Kingdom swiftly reacted to voters’ decision to leave the European Union in the Brexit referendum, 52 percent in favor of exiting and 48. percent opposed. British Prime Minister David Cameron resigned on Friday after the vote.
The Board of Deputies of British Jews expressed the hope that Britain “will now come together” after a “divisive and bruising” campaign, adding that the group “will nonetheless continue to work with colleagues and organizations across Europe as part of our broader program of advocacy on international issues of concern to the Jewish people.”
Sir Mick Davis, chairman of the Jewish Leadership Council and former chair of the Prime Minister’s Holocaust Commission, expressed sadness over Cameron’s resignation, noting that the outgoing prime minister “has always been a loyal friend of the Jewish community and a visible and vocal supporter of the State of Israel. He has worked constructively with us, engaging on issues of concern to British Jews. I wish to thank him for his many years of service and for his dedication and devotion to our country.”
Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, the chief rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth, said the Brexit campaign has “sharply divided” the U.K. and that “the time for disagreement and division is now over.”
“It is more essential than ever before that we unite so that the ensuing political upheaval does not adversely affect the most vulnerable in our society and that our moral leadership role in the world remains undiminished. It is my hope and prayer that the polarization of the national debate about Europe will now give way to a composed recognition of our common values of respect and responsibility,” he said.