Israel’s ex-UN ambassador Dan Gillerman was centre stage at UJIA’s annual dinner on Monday night.
What most of the 700 guests present at London’s Hilton Hotel in Mayfair might not have known was that he was a late replacement for former Israeli premier Ehud Olmert.
UJIA admitted this week that Mr Olmert had been booked to appear as guest of honour for its biggest fundraising event of the year.
Chief executive Doug Krikler said he had been invited — and had accepted the invitation — to speak in London “some months ago”.
In August Mr Olmert was charged with serious fraud, breach of trust, falsifying corporate records, receiving illicit benefits and tax evasion.
Mr Krikler said: “We did know (that Mr Olmert was being investigated) but we invited him in good faith to be our speaker.
“When he was formally indicted, it was deemed not to be appropriate to have him. We look forward to a positive outcome for him and to welcome him at some time in the future.”
The JC understands that UJIA had inserted a clause in its agreement with Mr Olmert that allowed the charity to withdraw its invitation if he was charged. But Mr Krikler said: “I do not want to talk about the contractual arrangements.”
Mr Olmert’s no-show made no difference to the main purpose of the event, as the dinner raised £3.7 million, equalling last year’s record-breaking figure.