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Big Tent for Israel gets UK ambassador Taub

    Israeli Ambassador Daniel Taub will be the key speaker at the Big Tent for Israel conference on November 27, making his first public speech in Manchester since his arrival in the UK in September.

    Also confirmed on the speaker list for the Israel advocacy event is Bicom chief executive Lorna Fitzsimons. Her appearance is significant in signalling a rapprochement with the Big Tent following the differences between the two organisations over the content of the conference earlier in the year.

    The ambassador's participation is "a real coup for us," said Big Tent's initiator, Rabbi Jonathan Guttentag of Manchester's Whitefield Hebrew Congregation. "We are confident his presence will attract many new participants."

    Organisers, who hope to attract an audience of 500 to 1,000, were trying to finalise speakers this week. After the controversy over whether the event would be open to Reform rabbis, which delayed the planning, it appears that no rabbis of any kind have been invited to speak.

    Guests include Itamar Marcus, who monitors Palestinian media, the Histadrut's chief of staff Yakov Triptou and Eran Shayshon of the Israeli think-tank, the Reut Institute.

    Representatives of the New Israel Fund and the Israel advocacy group Yachad have also been invited.

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