Info centre loses embassy funds

By Jonathan Kalmus, March 8, 2012

Israel's embassy is withdrawing funding from the UK's longest running Israel information centre.

The Birmingham centre, which works to counteract anti-Israel activity and offers education on Israel at Midlands schools and campuses, will have its funding stopped on March 27.

The centre opened 30 years ago and was the first regional arm of the London embassy. Similar operations were later opened in Manchester and Cardiff. "I can't pretend not to be disappointed," said director Ruth Jacobs.

"I've worked in this job for more than 20 years. I think there is a need for the centre. We are living in a small Jewish community in a very multi-faith city with some radical extremists of all sorts."

Mrs Jacobs wants to keep the centre open and is looking for alternative funding. Activities this month are continuing as planned.

‘We are living in a multi-faith city with some radical extremists’

The embassy declined to comment, not wishing to discuss "internal decisions".

Manchester's centre remains unaffected and was this week facilitating meetings between the embassy's cultural affairs counsellor and directors of major theatres and art galleries in the region.

Last updated: 7:42pm, March 8 2012