Concern over diminishing membership at the Association of Jewish Ex-Servicemen and Women was voiced at the Ajex regional conference, held in Leeds on Sunday.
National chairman Jeffrey Fox reported that in the past week, head office had been notified that three branches would either be disbanding or merging with other groups.
“In every case the reason is simple — they don’t have the people who are physically capable to carry out what is required to carry on. So we are going to continue to lose branches and we are going to see a significant decline in membership.”
Mr Fox said the low turnout on Sunday was partly down to senior officers being on holiday or having conflicting commitments. But he accepted that the absence of delegates from Blackpool, Southport, Birmingham and Newcastle had resulted in an attendance “poor by comparison to previous years”. Ajex was not alone in facing such problems, he added, alluding to ex-servicemen’s organisations that were heading out of existence.
“Ajex is determined this will not happen to us for a long time and we are working very hard to ensure we remain active and operational for as long as possible.” Two sub-committees had been set up to consider options for the future.
An Ajex gold badge was presented to Leeds group chairman Len Fineberg, recognising a major contribution at branch level.
“We feel our work is still essential to the well-being of the Jewish community,” he said. “The aims of Ajex must continue, even if such work will be carried out by others who may not have served in HM Forces.”