British ambassador to Israel Matthew Gould has praised the work of the Board of Deputies and spoken of the “golden thread” linking British Jews with Israel.
Mr Gould was speaking at a reception hosted by the Board to mark his departure from the post after five years and to welcome the new ambassador David Quarrey, a former private secretary to Tony Blair, who takes up the post in the summer.
Mr Gould said: “The Board of Deputies plays an absolutely critical role by providing leadership and as a place where the government can speak and engage with the community. I honestly believe that this is a community which is well led by skilled and dedicated people which is in robust good health. I think the community has a lot to thank its leadership for.”
He added: The support we have received from the Jewish community and the support that the community in the UK gives to the relationship between Britain and Israel is something of a golden thread between the two countries.”
Mr Quarrey said that becoming the UK’s ambassador to Israel was a daunting prospect but that he was looking forward to the challenge. He said: “Conventional wisdom has it that you should never take over from an ambassador who has had such an amazing impact. But actually it’s a real pleasure to step into and build from such good foundations.”
Daniel Taub, the Israel ambassador to the UK, who like Mr Gould was born into a London Jewish family, also paid tribute to his counterpart. He said: “Israel prides itself as being the model of creative energy but the greatest example of creative energy is Matthew himself. The innovations he has introduced have been the model which has been copied in embassies around the world.”
Board president Vivian Wineman praised Mr Gould as a “distinguished envoy for this country in Israel”. He said: “Matthew has taken relations between Britain and Israel to a new level. The way Matthew has improved the ties and made a difference personally has been remarkable and put him in a class of his own. He has a commitment to Zionism combined with a great sense of professionalism in representing the British government during difficult times.”
Photo: (from left) Board senior vice president Laura Marks, Israeli ambassador Daniel Taub, British ambassador to Israel Matthew Gould, Board president Vivian Wineman and new British ambassador David Quarrey