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UJIA announces new chair as dinner raises £3.1m

Bill Benjamin, who will be succeeded in January by Louise Jacobs, has served as UJIA chair for five years

    Louise Jacobs addresses the UJIA annual dinner (Blake Ezra Photography)
    Louise Jacobs addresses the UJIA annual dinner (Blake Ezra Photography)

    Louise Jacobs will succeed Bill Benjamin as the chair of UJIA, it was announced this week, as she promised to focus on engaging with younger members of the community.

    The charity raised £3.1 million at its annual dinner on Monday night, with Benny Gantz, the former chief of staff of the IDF, appearing as guest speaker.

    Mrs Jacobs, who will officially take over from Mr Benjamin in January, told the JC on Monday that her priority would be to ensure Israel “remains relevant to young people”.

    She said: “There is a generational shift about the way young people relate to Israel and we need to think very carefully about how we do relate to them.

    “And we need to make sure those young people can speak confidently about Israel and about Zionism.”

    Mr Benjamin echoed Mrs Jacobs in his welcome address, saying: “We must teach our young people the truth about Israel so that they can wave the flag proudly and defend her against her enemies.

    “We must develop the next generation of philanthropists who will invest in schools, jobs, human services in Israel so that all her citizens can lead lives of dignity.”

    Mrs Jacobs, who was the last chief executive of the London Jewish Cultural Centre before its merger wih JW3, was a UJIA trustee between 2005 and 2012, and then again from 2016, when she was also appointed as vice chair.

    The dinner, held at the Grosvenor House Hotel in Mayfair, central London, was also attended by Mark Regev, the Israeli ambassador to the UK; Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis and Rabbi Joseph Dweck, the senior rabbi of the S&P community.

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