Reverend Justin Welby, the new Archbishop of Canterbury (as of the new year) will certainly bring an interesting perspective to his relations with the Jewish community. According to a biography on the Archbishop of Canterbury’s official website Reverend Welby’s “father’s family were German Jewish immigrants who moved to England to escape anti-Semitism in the late 19th century, and integrated quickly.”
Neither Reverend Welby’s office nor the office of the UK’s chief rabbi, Jonathan Sacks, had any comment, however, at the time of his appointment Rabbi Sacks did offer this statement on his website: “I send warm congratulations to the Right Reverend Justin Welby, Bishop of Durham, on his appointment as Archbishop of Canterbury. I wish him blessings and success as he takes on this important role and look forward to working with him closely, as I have done with his predecessors, to continue strengthening Jewish-Christian relations in Britain.”
According to an article in The Jewish Chronicle Canon Andrew White, the Vicar of Baghdad, believes that Bishop Welby would have “a very balanced view” of the Israeli-Arab conflict.“We both love the Jews and the Arabs. He really cares about them, totally. He is not the kind of person who will take just one side,” he said.
“It’s very rare. Everybody takes one position or the other. You either love Israel and hate the Palestinians; or you hate the Jews and you love the Palestinians. But he is on both peoples’ side.”