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    Chairman's Report 2014

    During the year we have had several successful, interesting and informative meetings, although attendances have been less than we achieved in previous years.

    In December we held a tea-time meeting at the Sharon Hotel. The speaker was Ambassador Moshe Arens whose lecture was entitled "Where do we go from here with the Palestinians?". The audience of some 100 found his penetrating analysis very edifying.

    Due to problems of obtaining a speaker from England we were forced to release the date we had booked at the Hilton, who were very understanding and agreed to hold our deposit against a future event. The Dinner was held in February at the Hilton Hotel Tel Aviv. The speakers were HE Matthew Gould, the British Ambassador to the State of Israel and David Horovitz, Founding Editor of The Times of Israel and previously Editor of The Jerusalem Post and The Jerusalem Report. Some 90 people attended the dinner. All those present commented on the high quality and interest of the speeches. In May, jointly with AACI Netanya, we held the third and final lecture in our series "Balfour To Ben Gurion" celebrating our 60th anniversary of the foundation of the association entitled "The Bumpy Road to Israel's Statehood". The lecturer was Prof Colin Shindler of London University. Zippy Porath, who had been in Jerusalem at the time of the establishment of the Sate, recounted some of her experiences. She deputized for Ambassador Yehuda Avner who was unable to attend and speak.

    In June HE Matthew Gould and Mrs Gould hosted the Annual Reception for members at their Residence in Ramat Aviv, The speaker was Dov Weissglas, Former Bureau Chief of the late Prime Minister of Israel, Mr Ariel Sharon, and a Special Foreign Affairs Advisor to him as Prime Minister from May 2002 to June 2006. The Ambassador introduced Eric Pickles, MP, the British Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, who was visiting Israel. Mr Pickles also addressed the meeting. Some 90 people enjoyed the Ambassador's hospitality. We congratulate Mr Gould on being appointed a Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George.

    The long-term future of the Association continues to engage the consideration and discussions of the Executive. There is agreement that IBCA at present is not meeting its stated objectives which need to be revised. We have been affected by the increasing number of English-speaking organisations offering high quality lectures, similar to those organised by IBCA, which at one time was the only organisation offering such meetings. Prof Alex Deutsch has written a paper on the future of the Association and is now formulating a mission statement for the future of IBCA. It is essential that we take steps to attract new and younger members and attempt to penetrate new areas; at present our membership is mainly confined to Herzliya and Netanya, with a small percentage from other areas like Tel Aviv, Ra'anana and Jerusalem. This problem of membership is not confined to IBCA; I hear that many organisations are facing similar problems. There have been suggestions that we either combine or have reciprocal membership with other organisations.

    This is my last AGM as Chairman. These three years have been difficult ones, as we face rising prices of catering and a decline in the numbers attending our meetings. I would like to thank the members of the committee and our Administrator, Renee Singer, for all their help and support. Without them, none of what I have outlined above would have taken place. Each and everyone have contributed to the work of the Executive, each in their own different way. It is by such team work that we can continue to progress.

    Yidal Levine and Yigal Yarden, who both reach the end of their term of office, have decided not to offer themselves for re-election. Both have been long-standing members of the Executive and their contribution to our work and discussions will be missed. Yigal Levine was a member of the Diplomatic Staff at the British Embassy and his connection there was of great value to us. Over the years he has held various offices on the Executive and for the last three years has been Hon. Secretary. Yigal Yardeni has undertaken many tasks during his years on the Executive and recently has been involved in the organisation of the three lectures marking the 60th Anniversary of the Association. We thank both of you for your contribution to the work and development of the Association which is greatly appreciated.

    Finally I thank all the loyal members of IBCA for their support of all our functions and look forward to seeing you at future functions.

    Alan Webber July 2014