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      Britain's Conservative Candidate Appeals to Jewish Vote

      Britain's Conservative party candidate is hoping to persuade Jews to support his bid to become the country's next prime minister.
      By Hana Levi Julian
      First Publish: 4/18/2010, 12:07 PM / Last Update: 4/18/2010, 1:28 PM

      Britain's Conservative party candidate is hoping to persuade Jews to support his bid to become the country's next prime minister.

      Britain's population goes to the polls on May 6 in what pundits are predicting will be a close race between the Labor party, led by current Prime Minister Gordon Brown -- which has been in power since 1997 -- and the Conservatives. If David Cameron, leader of the Conservative party wins, he will become the youngest prime minister to lead Britain since the early 1800's.

      Last week Cameron told members of the Reform Judaism movement that a Conservative government would do “much more to protect and empower the Jewish community.”

      He repeated a quote from the Talmudic sage Rabbi Hillel he had used in a speech last summer to support his contention that “one of the biggest contributions of Judaism is its understanding of what makes a responsible society... 'If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am not for others, what am I?' That urgent, selfless moral compulsion to change the world for the better is right at the heart of the Jewish way of life," he said. 

      “If I become prime minister, I want to see that idea of responsibility extend right across our society. A key part of that will be about building a stronger, more cohesive society – and that means doing much more to tackle the rise of anti-Semitism,” Cameron vowed.

      “I was appalled when the Community Security Trust told me that there were more anti-Semitic incidents in the first half of 2009 than in the whole of any previous year,” he added. “We need big changes to root out this extremism – stopping preachers of hate from entering this country, banning those extremist groups who are already here, and doing much more to tackle radicalization in our universities.”

      The candidate invoked his own Jewish ancestor, great-grandfather Arthur Francis Levita, saying the discovery of this heritage was one of the highlights of his summer last year: I am a great admirer of the Jewish people,” he said. “I've long seen your community as a shining light in our society.” Levita was a stockbroker at the firm of Panmure Gordon, and worked with the Rothschilds on the sale of war bonds during the Russian-Japanese War.