‘Frightened and intimidated’: Jewish community leader shares what it’s like living in Britain during Israel-Hamas war

Pro-Palestinian protest and Ruth Jacobs

‘Frightened and intimidated’: Jewish community leader shares what it’s like living in Britain during Israel-Hamas war

Getty Images/GB News
Jack Carson

By Jack Carson

Published: 28/10/2023

- 10:54

Updated: 28/10/2023

- 10:55

The leader said Pro-Palestinian protesters ‘don’t really understand what’s at stake’ for her people

The founder of West Midlands Friends of Israel, Ruth Jacobs, tells GB News she has been ‘frightened and intimidated’ seeing thousands march in pro-Palestine protests.

Jacobs’ comments come as people across the country will gather in London this weekend to protest in a ‘National March for Palestine Ceasefire Now’. According to organisers, the march demands “an immediate ceasefire and an end to Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestinian land.”

It’s now three weeks since more than 1,400 people inside Israel were killed after the terror organisation, Hamas, launched a series of raids on 7 October. Israel has since responded with the bombing of Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip.

Since the attacks, hundreds of people have regularly marched through Birmingham city centre in pro-Palestine protests.

WATCH HERE: Ruth Jacobs shares her thoughts on antisemitic surge

Ruth Jacobs has been involved in promoting interfaith relations for more than 30 years and has supported organisations including ‘Solutions not Sides'.

However, Jewish people make up just 0.1 per cent of the population in Birmingham and Jacobs says being part of that minority, combined with the recent protests in the city, has been ‘scary’.

She told GB News: “I feel frightened and intimidated.

“Yes, they [pro-Palestine protestors] have a cause which they feel strongly about, but I don’t think they really understand what’s at stake here.

“You can’t discuss what’s going on in Gaza with Hamas, they’re not interested in a ceasefire, and they state it over and over again they want the annihilation of the Jewish state and the annihilation of the Jewish people.”


Pro-Palestinian protesters took to the streets of Central London

Police have urged those taking part in protests to do so as 'peacefully and respectfully as possible'


After the attacks in Israel, Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, announced members of the UK Jewish community, including school children, would be given more protection against antisemitic attacks.

An additional £3million has been given to the Community Security Trust, an organisation established to protect British Jews from antisemitism and related threats.

Welcoming the support, Jacobs said: “All Jewish people regardless of their political affiliation must be grateful to hear the Government and the opposition standing so firmly in our court.

“I don’t mean that I don’t want them to be not standing to help the Palestinians, but it’s very easy to feel isolated and to be made to feel unwanted.”

The Metropolitan Police revealed yesterday (27th October) that over the last week in London there have been 408 anti-Semitic attacks and 174 Islamophobic attacks as a direct result of the Israel-Hamas conflict.

Ruth Jacobs

Ruth Jacobs said it was 'very easy to feel isolated and to be made to feel unwanted'

GB News

Whilst there is no specific data for similar attacks in Birmingham, Ruth Jacobs described the abuse she’s experienced.

She told GB News: “Last Saturday walking home from the Synagogue, someone opened their car window and said ‘f- off you Jews’ but that’s not so uncommon.

“I know that the [Jewish] students here in Birmingham have experienced hostility and then we’ve got the situation in some secondary schools where there have been some expressions of unpleasantness.”

The Israeli Defence Force (IDF) has been asking Palestinians to evacuate south from northern Gaza as it increases strikes in the Gaza City area ahead of the expected ground operation.

The Jewish West Midlands community leader, Jacobs, told GB News a ground offensive was the only option.

She said: “I don’t know what the alternative is; the ceasefire suggestion is not an alternative.

“Nobody wants to see innocent people killed, but those 1,400 [Israeli] people who were killed were innocent and they didn’t know anything was coming.

“At least these people know something is coming and, if Hamas had any kind of integrity, they’d tell Egypt to open the Rafah border and let the people out.

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