£400,000 legacy from the Radio

Rabbi to fund Youth Peace Award

A peace award designed to bring young Israelis and Palestinians closer together is being set up in memory of Rabbi Lionel Blue, the much-loved broadcaster who featured regularly on the BBC Radio 4 ‘Thought for the Day’ for more than 30 years.

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On the day of a special memorial service to celebrate his life and achievements, it was announced that Lionel Blue left a legacy of £400,000 to the Bereaved Families Forum to expand its courageous and ground-breaking work. Part of the bequest will be used to set up the Lionel Blue Youth Peace Award, which will be awarded for the first time this year to a young Palestinian and a young Israeli, in recognition of their outstanding contribution to peace.

Rabbi Lionel Blue, who died in December aged 86, was a Patron of the Friends of the Bereaved Families Forum. The Bereaved Families Forum (also known as The Parents Circle-Families Forum) consists of more than 600 Israeli and Palestinian families who have all lost an immediate family member in the Middle East conflict. It works to spearhead a process of reconciliation between Palestinians and Israelis to end the conflict without violence. By sharing their loss and pain, members build bridges of dialogue and empathy that send ripples of hope and trust through both societies.

Mazen Faraj, Co-Director of the Bereaved Families Forum, said: ‘This is amazing news. We have demonstrated that creating dialogue between small groups from the two communities is the best way to replace fear and suspicion with trust and understanding. Thanks to Rabbi Blue’s generosity we will be able to devote more resources to our work of building bridges between Palestinians and Israelis.’

Chani Smith, Hon. Secretary of the FBFF, said: ‘Lionel Blue spent his life breaking down barriers and promoting dialogue so it’s wonderful that he will be remembered in years to come for his contribution to stopping the shedding of innocent blood in Israel and Palestine.’

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London shares in joint memorial


Dozens of supporters of FBFF, Yachad, Combatants for Peace and the New Israel Fund met at the JW3 Centre in north-west London on 30 April to share the emotion of the joint Israeli-Palestinian memorial ceremony.

Judith Elkan, Chair of FBFF, said afterwards: ‘To see such a huge audience in Tel Aviv was wonderful. Each of the speakers conveyed such a depth of conviction about finding a way forward, touching on their personal grief, yet finding in themselves a capacity to act in order to bring about a better future. 

‘I think this message came across and touched everyone in our audience.’

Judith applauded the success of the Bereaved Families Forum in arranging a screening before a mixed audience in Beit Jala, following the Israeli government’s banning of Palestinians from travelling to the ceremony in Tel Aviv.

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• Please help the Parents Circle-Families Forum continue their important work. Consider making a standing order to donate £5.00 a month to FBFF
(all donations will be forwarded to the Parents Circle-Families Forum).
You can download a standing order form here: 

Or you can make a one-off donation to FBFF through Virgin Money Giving: 


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Patrons of UKFBFF:

Lord Rowan Williams
Juliet Stevenson
Dr Usama Hasan
Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg
Dr Amineh Hoti
Karen Armstrong
Huw Irranca-Davies AM


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