'It's sad Brits aren't proud of Churchill': Israeli ambassador says UK history important

27 January 2022, 11:08 | Updated: 27 January 2022, 12:24

Israel's ambassador lamented how Churchill is viewed by some in Britain
Israel's ambassador lamented how Churchill is viewed by some in Britain. Picture: Alamy

By Megan Hinton

It is "very sad" that Brits "are not proud of Churchill anymore", the Israeli ambassador has told LBC as she highlighted the importance of remembering Nazi atrocities on Holocaust Memorial Day.

Tzipi Hotovely explained the importance of teaching children from an early age about the Holocaust, stating Britain should proudly remember "the brave people that were willing to fight the pure evil".

Speaking to LBC's Nick Ferrari at Breakfast she said: "When it comes to teenagers that are able to understand where hate can lead us, it is very very important to really get back to the history.

"And I think this country had a glorious fight in the Nazi regime, should maybe be in the front line of education about where hate can take us and about resilience when you are fighting this whole regime.

"And I think the fact that some people are not proud of Churchill anymore, this is a very sad thing because you need to be proud of your legacy for fighting the Nazi regime and being one of the very few there that were part of the brave people that were willing to fight the pure evil."

Churchill's actions have come under increasing scrutiny in recent years as some academics look to draw more attention to controversies during his life and his statue was defaced during a Black Lives Matter protest in 2020.

Read more: Holocaust Memorial Day 2022: UK remembers victims of genocide

The ambassador added: "I think that this is part of the history of this country and you should be proud of it and also the fact that many Jews were refugees in this country.

"Very soon I am going to visit the Jewish museum, I am going to see the kids transport [a ploy to remove children vulnerable to the Nazi regime from Europe], all of the kids that were saved by very generous people in this country that gave them a shelter. So altogether I think those are chapters in the history of both this country and the Jewish people and the establishment of Israel, these are things all together that should be studied in a very clear way."

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Mrs Hotovely said she was "shocked" when she experienced her first encounter of in-person anti-Semitism on the streets of London.

When asked if she was disappointed with the level of anti-Semitism in the UK, the ambassador replied: "The British Government are doing all they can to fight it, to make sure people will be taken to court, for committing hate crimes.

"But there are somethings that are still so strange to me... and this is why I am so happy the Education Secretary is addressing problems like anti-Semitism on campuses.

"The fact that some Jewish students do not feel secure when they go to get their degrees, this is something that in every free society, we need to make sure everyone can go on campus and feel good about it."

She added "nothing is more important" that getting a Holocaust memorial in London.

Today marks Holocaust Memorial Day, where people across the world come together to remember the six million Jews murdered during the Holocaust.

The memorial day, which takes place on January 27 each year, marks the anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp, the largest Nazi death camp, in 1945.

It is also used as a day to remember the millions killed in subsequent genocides since the Holocaust including in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur.

At 8pm, people across the UK are being asked to "Light the Darkness" by lighting candles and safely putting them in their windows to remember those "who were murdered for who they were" and to "stand against prejudice and hatred today".

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