A closely fought contest

November 24, 2016 23:27

When the Board of Deputies' would-be presidents make their final pitch for votes on Sunday, they will have already taken part in four hustings in a fortnight.

No Jewish community election in recent history has been so closely fought or demanded such commitment from its candidates.

Their willingness to stand is, ultimately, a vote of confidence in democracy. True, the Board does not include all sections of British Jewry and may need reform, but some democracy is better than none.

Whoever wins can fairly claim to have been elected by a broad swathe of the community.

The new president arrives at a critical time. To many, the existence of the Board and Jewish Leadership Council as separate organisations is increasingly unjustified, but a merger appears some way off.

The president will until then have to be able to forge closer working relations with the JLC at the same time as showing the strength to stop the JLC straying into the Board's territory.

The new right-wing government in Israel could create a more challenging political environment.

It will be hard for the Board to maintain its traditional consensus, with some groups calling for more aggressive defence of Israel while others want a more critical approach.

Laura Marks: 'brave leaders change their mind'

November 24, 2016 23:27

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