The Church of England said it plans to apologize for medieval anti-Semitic laws enacted in 1222 that eventually led to the expulsion of the country's Jews in 1290.
The formal "act of repentance" is timed for next year's 800th anniversary of the set of laws that restricted the population of around 3,000 Jews from engaging with Christians.
“The phrase ‘better late than never’ is truly appropriate here. The historic trauma of medieval English antisemitism can never be erased and its legacy survives today — for example, through the persistence of the ‘blood libel’ allegation that was invented in this country,” Dave Rich, the policy director of British anti-Semitism watchdog group Community Security Trust, told the Telegraph.
Most Jews arrived in England from northern France after William the Conqueror became king in 1066.
Over the next few centuries, Jews faced increasing persecution, culminating in the Edict of Expulsion issued by Edward I on July 18, 1290, expelling all Jews from the Kingdom of England.
Jews did not return to England until 1656 at the invitation of Oliver Cromwell.
According to the Community Security Trust, the UK registered a record number of anti-Semitic incidents in London in May, with almost all of them related to the 11-day flare-up in violence between the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip and Israel.
“At a time of rising antisemitism, the support and empathy of the Church of England for our Jewish community is most welcome as a reminder that the Britain of today is a very different place,” Rich said.