Board of Deputies proposed closer relationship with JLC

Board president Marie van der Zyl is understood to have proposed greater collaboration


Marie van der Zyl, the President of the Board of Deputies, has made overtures to the Jewish Leadership Council about a closer working relationship between the two organisations, the JC has learned.

The two bodies began talks seven years ago to explore possible unification between them but two years later the plan had effectively been shelved.

Mrs van der Zyl’s predecessor, Jonathan Arkush, shortly before stepping down in 2018, revealed that discussions to revive the idea had been taking place but were at “an early stage”.

According to a communal source, she has since written to the JLC to make the case for greater collaboration.

It is understood one idea that has been put forward is to reach an arrangement to avoid overlap between the Board’s education department and Pajes, the JLC’s schools’ network.

But the Board has declined comment on what Mrs van der Zyl may have proposed.

JLC chairman Jonathan Goldstein, shortly after he took office three years ago, acknowledged in an interview there had previously been “far too much antagonism” between the two organisations.

Two years earlier, Mr Arkush, after his election as Board president, told the JC, “I don’t think it makes sense to have two public affairs bodies.”

The JLC currently outspends the Board by more than double. In 2018, the council spent £2.67 million, compared to the Board’s expenditure of £1.28 million.

The JLC is set for a significant change in September when Simon Johnson, its chief executive, will step down after seven years as head of the organisation.

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