A leading communal figure has been embroiled in a four-year dispute with an Israeli taxi driver over unpaid fares totalling £3,000.
Jeremy Newmark, the chair of the Jewish Labour Movement (JLM), ran up the bill when he hired Yair Yatziv to drive him and his family during trips to Israel between 2013 and 2014.
In a letter seen by the JC, dated February 2016, Mr Newmark agreed he owed £3,000, and promised to pay the debt in instalments. He claimed the delay had been due to health problems he had suffered.
However, until this week, Mr Yatziv had received no payment.
When contacted by the JC on Monday, Mr Newmark said it was unclear how much he owed and had been waiting for invoices and receipts from Mr Yatziv. He also contended that he had already paid part of the bill, which had been unacknowledged by the driver.
But, by Wednesday, Mr Newmark, who came within 1,700 votes of winning the Finchley and Golders Green seat for Labour in this year’s general election, appeared to have had a change of heart.
In an email to Mr Yatziv, dated November 15, Mr Newmark wrote: “Further to ongoing discussions over an extended period I confirm that we have transferred funds to you today bringing total sum paid to 2/3rds [£2,000] of the amount that you have claimed.”
He added that the outstanding balance would be transferred on receipt of a “full set of tax compliant invoices”.
Mr Yatziv said he had been hired by Mr Newmark when he visited Israel both in a professional capacity and for family holidays.
Mr Newmark was employed by the Jewish Leadership Council at the time but resigned in October 2013, leaving Mr Yatziv unable to contact him.
Mr Yatziv said: “One day I told him: ‘Listen, the account, it’s getting more and more’ and he told me that he would be travelling to the United States, and he would then transfer the money.
“After one month, two months, I called to the [JLC] office. They told me Jeremy Newmark had stopped working there. And that he was sick.”
The Jerusalem-based driver, who served for 30 years in the IDF, said he could not understand why Mr Newmark had failed to pay up for such a long period. “I don’t know why he did it. I gave him service, he used me — why didn’t he give me the money? You’re a big shot, running for Parliament in London. It’s a shame.”