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Churchill Bust Unveiled in Jerusalem as Tribute to ‘Lifelong Friend of the Jewish People’

Bust made from an original Oscar Nemon cast unveiled in Jerusalem. 

Churchill-Bust-in-JeruslemRandolph Churchill (left) and Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat
THE DAILY MAIL, 5 November 2012 — British tourists visiting Jerusalem will be greeted by a familiar face on their next tour of the city.

Winston Churchill has been honoured with a bust in the Israeli city nearly fifty years after his death.

The former British prime minister’s great-grandson, Lt. Randolph Churchill, unveiled the bronze bust in Montefiore Gardens just outside the Old City walls yesterday.

The statue looks out over the Tower of David to Jerusalem’s Old City which Mr Churchill first visited in 1921 with Lawrence of Arabia.

The bust’s permanent home will be Mishkenot’s new international press club, which is currently under construction and is due to be completed in June 2013.

It was made from an original cast by Croatian-born Jewish sculptor Oscar Nemon, who fled to Britain just before the outbreak of the Second World War.

Randolph Churchill, who visited the Israel Museum and the Dead Sea area with his wife during the trip, said his great-grandfather was a ‘lifelong friend of the Jewish people and the Zionist cause.’

British Ambassador Matthew Gould said it was ‘absolutely right’ that Churchill be honoured by the city and said: ‘He stood up for the rights of the Jewish people to a Jewish homeland long before it became fashionable – if it was ever fashionable.’

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat said Churchill was admired by Israelis for opposing Hitler and Nazism and for his ability to stand up for what he believed in.

Mr Barkat claimed that Mr Churchill’s assertion that ‘if you have enemies, good it means that you have stood up for something in your life’ captured the Israeli ethos.

Israeli politician Isaac Herzog, who campaigned to get the bust erected, said: ‘The world is yearning for strong leadership and moral clarity; someone who knows the difference between good and bad.’

Mr Churchill was a staunch advocate of Zionism. As a young politician he opposed the Aliens Bill in 1904 which sought to limit Jewish immigration to the UK from Poland and Russia.

He also supported the Balfour Declaration in 1917 which made public the British support of a Jewish homeland in Palestine.

In the 1930s, he spoke out against Hitler and Nazism and, as British prime minister, went on to defeat the German dictator in the Second World War putting an end to the Nazis’ persecution of Jews in Europe.

Read the press release from the Jerusalem Foundation here. 

Churchill’s official biographer, Sir Martin Gilbert, recently published Churchill and the Jews: A Lifelong Friendship.

Mr Gilbert states that Churchill rejected what he called ‘the anti-Semitic lines of prejudice’.

He writes: ‘While never an uncritical supporter of Zionism, he was one of its most persistent friends and advocates. In a world where Jews were often the objects of scorn, dislike, distrust and hostility, Churchill held them in high esteem, and wanted them to have their rightful place in the world.’

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