In July 2019, we held our AGM which included a talk by Eyal Offenbach who spoke on "Islam and the Muslims in Europe-The old continent in a cultural struggle". Over the last few years we have found it convenient to combine our AGM with a presentation.
On the 13th November 2019, we celebrated our annual Balfour Dinner. We decided to use the Daniel Hotel for the event. We felt that this would make the event more affordable for our guests. Lord Eric Pickles was our guest speaker from the UK, and Gideon Saar a former Likud minister addressed us as the Israeli speaker.
The event was very successful. Lord Pickles was accompanied by Lord Stuart Polak and Lord James O'Shaughnessy. Lord Polak has been an ardent supporter of Israel and very helpful with many aspects of IBCA over the years.
On the 25th December we had our very successful Brunch meeting at the Daniel Hotel Herzlia. This has become somewhat of a tradition over the last few years. The speaker was Herb Keinon of the Jerusalem Post.
On the 23rd January, I was honoured to be asked to represent IBCA at a reception to meet Prince Charles on his official visit to Israel.
We went ahead with the IBCA project to send Israeli colorectal surgeons to England for further training. The prestigious Basingstoke course was to take place over Purim. When I explained that this would affect our participation, the organizers agreed to bring the course forward by a week. This was very fortunate, as had they not done this, the course would have had to be cancelled due to the Covid virus pandemic.
We were to have sent 13 surgeons to England, however due to the pandemic; two of the surgeons had to drop out just before we left on the 1st March. The project was very successful, and in addition to the course, the surgeons were clinically attached to three London teaching hospitals. They also took an active part at an academic meeting at University College London.
We were hosted at the House of Lords. Lord Stuart Polak and Lord James O'Shaughnessy together gave the group an extensive tour of the House. This was an event which left an indelible mark on all our Israeli visitors.
Chris Canaan the Australian Ambassador, invited us to an event at his residence in May which had to be postponed, and Neil Wigan , the British Ambassador had invited IBCA to his home in June. Similarly this also had to be postponed. We were of course very disappointed and we look forward to these events in the future. The executive committee felt that it would be inadvisable to hold any physical meeting in the present circumstances. We do plan to try some online meetings. It is for this reason we decided to have a ZOOM AGM this year.
I have been the IBCA chairman since 2014, and I think it is time for a change.
Brenda Katten, who has chaired IBCA in the past, has kindly agreed to become the chairperson again. I have no doubt that she will see us over this difficult pandemic period, and with her energy and enthusiasm will continue leading IBCA successfully.
Roger Lavender, our treasurer for nine years, has decided to step down. Roger has been an exceptional treasurer, and we have always appreciated all the work he has carried out for us. We are very fortunate that Ephry Eder has agreed to take over this important task. A relatively recent addition to our committee, Ephry has impressed us all by his enthusiasm and I have no doubt he will handle our finances well.
Roger has agreed to continue serving on the committee, and has offered to help and guide Ephry in the various aspects particularly those appertaining to the "Amuta" status of IBCA. We are blessed with an enthusiastic committee. Sam Lewis, my vice chairman, as always, has been the solid backbone of our group. He arranges events at hotel venues, and has been so very meticulous about every detail. He always makes sure that we can hear what our speakers are saying, by checking the sound systems. We are grateful to Irene Gee for accepting the position of Honorary Secretary. She has contributed a great deal to our arrangements. Joseph Beenstock managed a very successful Balfour dinner brochure. It is because of his success that we had the funds to send our surgeons to England. Jeanette Cannon has enthusiastically continued to deal with our membership issues, in spite of some health issues which we are thankful are behind her. We are grateful to her for all her hard work and all her input at committee meetings.
We are also fortunate to have Sima Jacobs on the committee. It is important to have a real Ivrit speaking born Israeli. She has managed to bring some new membership to our ranks, as well as some well-known Israelis to our events.
Finally I am grateful to Renee Singer for all her work as coordinator of IBCA. She makes sure that IBCA functions well and that events all go as planned.
I am very pleased that I can hand over such an outstanding committee to Brenda.
We will all continue to serve and support our new chairman, and look forward to great things from IBCA.