we are a group formed by British Christians who recognise that Britain was called to help birth the restoration of a homeland for the Jewish people. The name "Repairing the Breach" came to Rosie Ross the founder, whilst on a plane flying between Israel and the UK.
Gidon Ramati with Sally and Francis Prittie and Tamar Taylor at the "Exodus 1947" memorial event in Haifa.
Those from the UK who themselves, or who had family members who were involved in the Mandate, play an important role.
THE CONTEXT FOR REPAIRING THE BREACH
Revivals in the UK from the time of the Puritans to the Welsh Revival caused many to study the Bible and see how Israel and the Jewish people were key in God's purposes. William Wilberforce and Lord Shaftsbury were two prominent leaders who shared God's passion for the Jewish people's salvation and their return to their land.
In 1917 the Balfour Declaration reflected the desire that many British Christians had to see Bible prophecy fulfilled regarding the restoration of the Jewish people to their ancient homeland. This declaration was incorporated into international law in the San Remo Treaty (1920) and the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine (1922). To understand the significance of the San Remo treaty please watch this excellent short explanation (left) or watch the excellent programme filmed in Jerusalem and featuring key Israeli leaders and diplomats. www.ec4i.org.
A "breach" was caused when Britain reneged on her obligations under the Mandate. Britain appeased the Arab cause and greatly limited aliyah in a time when the Jewish people needed it the most i.e. whilst escaping the Holocaust in Europe and after World War 2 when they needed to find a home. If the gates of aliyah* had been fully open hundreds of thousands would have escaped Hitler's Final Solution. Below is an example of "repairing the breach" at Haifa docks and Atlit detention camp. (*aliyah = the return of the Jewish people to their land)
Shaya Charsit is a survivor of the Exodus 1947 ship. We are hoping to bring him to UK from Israel to share his story. Let us know if you would like him to come to your church or school to share with you. Hear Shaya share his moving story in a Zoom link.
REMEMBERING, REPENTANCE AND THE RECONCILIATION IT BRINGS
Over the last 5 years, continuing LNF's pioneer work, we have been involved with:
Joan Thomas with Zehava Fuchs at Hadassah hospital after one of the annual Hadassah convoy memorials
COMMEMORATIVE/MEMORIAL EVENTS IN ISRAEL
RECONCILIATION BETWEEN BRITISH CHRISTIANS AND JEWISH ISRAELIS
Arie Itamar meeting Tom Dale in Tom's home
Many British hearts were touched by their suffering and for many this was the first opportunity to learn about this sad period of British history as it is not widely known by the British public. A special moment was when Arye Itamar met with a former Royal Navy man, Tom Dale, whose ship HMS Chequers was one of the ships that seized control of the famous Exodus 1947 ship.
Our friendship with Arie continues. He wrote in April 2020. "It was on 7.5.15, at the Haifa Port ceremony, that I first met the noble people of RTB. Their message of expressing their deep remorse over their nation's failure during the Mandate years and their desire to see a change in the relationship between our nations attracted me strongly and I started to feel a part of and a member of that family. Their attempt to repair our mutual relationship, as well as fighting against antisemitism and for Israel, is a holy mission. As their friends, we, the Israelis, are obliged to give RTB people, our friendship and support."
In 2017, "Repairing the Breach" was invited to participate in two official Israeli commemorations of the refugee ship, EXODUS 1947 and the more than 4,500 refugee passengers - survivors of the Holocaust. Verity Steele, a musician based in Hampshire, U.K. had learned a little British Mandate history for the first time whilst working in an Israeli orchestra in the 1980s.
Verity Steele playing the viola with Shuli Natan, a well-known Israeli singer.
However, the shocking and traumatic nature of the EXODUS affair took on a far more personal tone when she discovered that her uncle had served on a British Naval Destroyer - one of the ships that intercepted the EXODUS in July 1947, resulting in the repatriation of its human cargo back to Germany, of all places! When she was invited to accompany the renowned Israeli singer, Shuli Natan, performing Yerushalayim Shel Zahav at the first of these ceremonies (July 2017), Verity was able to express her personal sorrow over the sufferings caused to the Jewish people by the cruel and shameful British policies of the time.
We, the RTB group as a whole, had the privilege of meeting survivors and spent time listening to their stories well into the afternoon. At the second event (Sept. 2017), which had been organised by survivors and many of their sons and daughters, we, and a specially organised tour group from the U.K. were able to hand out cards expressing our sorrow. Many hearts were deeply touched as the expressions of our heart brought reconciliation. One Holocaust survivor, Rivka, wrote of her experience that day, saying, "Here I like to tell you dear Jan (Cooper), and all the team that I met, I did not expect that today there are people like you with sea change. That gives me optimism for a better future world?"
Left to right - Yaakov Waiman, Billy Cooper and Arie Itamar at Billy's home
In September 2018 two Israelis came on tour in the UK to tell their stories at six locations from Wales to Westminster. Yaakov Waiman, whose mother Olga was in Auschwitz and then on the Exodus ship, said, "I came as a guest and left as part of a lovely family." He and Arie Itamar met Billy Cooper, a former serviceman who served in Palestine under the Mandate and they listened to each other's stories and had a special time of reconciliation. In Israel on Remembrance Sunday November 2018, Yaakov and Arie laid flowers on the graves of Billy's friends to honour their memory.
In September 2019 Rosie Ross and Jan Cooper joined an Israel Heritage tour to Hamburg organised by the Exodus 1947 families. They had the privilege alongside German Christians, students, teachers and civic dignitaries to be part of ceremonies where the families were welcomed and honoured.
Jan with Ester
Ester Rubinstein aged 12 on the Exodus said, "You are so humble to come from the UK to be with us, to listen and be at our side." At the British former D.P. Camp, now a German naval base in Sengwarden, the German naval officers received all our group in their canteen. Being served hot soup meant so much. Zeev Aarnon said, "When the war was on, the German army denied me food ...now the German soldiers in uniform are serving me. This was an unforgettable moment. A closing of a circle."
The story of the Exodus 1947 has been captured in this musical prepared by March of Life in Germany with whom we have a growing relationship. If you are interested in hosting this musical, do let us know.
On November 29th 2020 RTB and the Mary Sisters hosted a webinar for Love Never Fails to mark 80 years since the "Patria Disaster". We were most grateful to Anne Heelis of Nachamu Ami, Mike and Lynn McNally of March of Life and Roy Thurley chair of LNF for their key contributions.
The SS Patria, accidentally sunk by Jewish fighters attempting to stop it being used to exile to detention in Mauritius, Jewish refugees escaping the Holocaust.
Survivors from the Patria disaster. Click on the image to go to their stories on our Youtube channel.
The whole webinar is available on the right (1hr, 36mins). Watch highlights of the individual testimonies of those who were on the ship, above and the film made by Cila Ganot featuring Gidon's (survivor) family and members of RTB.
The Patria disaster was the sinking on 25 November 1940 by the Jewish paramilitary organization Haganah of a French-built ocean liner, the 11,885-ton SS Patria, in the port of Haifa, killing 267 people and injuring 172.
At the time of the sinking, Patria was carrying about 1,800 Jewish refugees from Nazi-occupied Europe whom the British authorities were deporting from Mandatory Palestine to Mauritius because they lacked entry permits. Zionist organizations opposed the deportation, and the underground paramilitary Haganah group planted a bomb intended to disable the ship to prevent it from leaving Haifa.
It was a privilege for us to commemorate this anniversary of the Patria disaster with survivors and their families. This event happened within days of other survivors of the disaster commemorating it in Israel and in conjunction with Holocaust centres in different countries.
Following the sinking of the Patria, the British persisted in their plans to detain the refugees from Nazi Europe in a prison on Mauritius. 1580 refugees were held there for 5 years and 128 are buried on the island. You can learn more by watching our film "Young boy in a broken boat" on youtube (see left) telling the story of Isaac Adler, one of the detainees whose pictures and writings vividly portray what he and others endured. You can also discover more by watching our one hour webinar from 21 Feb 2021.
You can watch here a shortened version of Hugh Kitson and Hatikvah Films' excellent portrayal of Britain and the Mandate, "The Forsaken Promise"
The full version can be purchased from Hatikvah Films
These links about the Mandate betrayal are from the more recent documentary "Whose Land?" by Hugh Kitson and Title Deeds media: Episode 8
Another excellent resource is the Hatikvah Films' production "The Destiny of Britain"