CHAIRMAN'S REPORT IBCA: AGM 12th JULY 2016
Over the last year, IBCA has again illustrated its special place among the numerous other worthy English speaking organizations.
We are not just a social organization, although we certainly play an important social role. We use our John Furman Fund to raise the standard of colon and rectal surgery in Israel, by sending young surgeons for further training in the UK. But we are not a purely charitable organization. We do try to give some purpose to new immigrants, though we do not organize volunteer projects.
Where we differ from other organizations is in still maintaining a connection with our previous countries, and indeed with their diplomatic corps and politicians. We try not to be insular, and we try in some small way to influence the policies of our previous homelands.
We all feel that we can sometimes convey ideas in a language our Israeli home grown diplomats and politicians are not always able to do effectively.
I am pleased that over fifty new members have joined IBCA this year.
We have had an interesting programme over the last year.
At the last AGM Dr. Yitzchak Noy addressed us on pre-state history at a well-attended meeting at the Seven Stars Herzlia. I might just mention the exceptional meeting in May 2015, at which Maureen Lipman spoke to us at the home of the British Ambassador Matthew Gould in June. This was his final meeting before he left Israel, and about 200 people attended. We had also had a very interesting tea event at the home of the Canadian Ambassador Vivian Berkovici where the ambassador spoke to us.
The Balfour dinner on the 9th November 2015 was our star event, attended by 350 participants at the Tel Aviv Hilton Hotel. Our speakers were Boris Johnson Mayor of London and MK Yair Lipid head of Yesh Atid, and it was an outstanding success. We were addressed by Colonel Miri Eisen on the 24th December 2015. The high tea meeting at the Sharon Hotel has become a traditional "seasonal" event and remains very popular.
On 17 February 2016 the British Embassy invited us for a meeting and informal discussion with Mr. Tobias Ellwood MP, British Minister for the Middle East. Many attended the Netanya meeting and were able to meet Miriam Fierberg Mayor of Netanya.
We sent a further ten young Israeli colon and Rectal surgeons in February 2016, to the UK, between the 28th February to the 6th March 2016. It was funded by The John Furman Fund. This makes the overall number of Israeli young surgeons who have been on this project to 65.
Apart from their prestigious course in Basingstoke, they also attend hospital departments at University College Hospital, Kings College Hospital and St. Thomas's Hospital. We were very impressed at how welcome these young surgeons were made by all the hospital staff.
We were also invited for a semi-formal visit to the House of Lords by Lord Stuart Polak. We were able to meet a variety of politicians. The fact that three of the surgeons were Israeli Arab, did not fail to impress all the people we met. Perhaps this contributed a little to a different view of our country.
The Australian Ambassador H.E. Dave Sharma entertained us at his residence on the 4th April 2016, and addressed us on "The Palestine Campaign-100 years on". At this well attended morning meeting we were able to ask questions and discuss a wide variety of topics.
The new British Ambassador, HE David Quarrey, hosted an IBCA meeting with his partner Aldo Henriquez at his residence. Baroness Susan Williams, Parliamentary under Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government was also present at the meeting. Following both addresses we were able to have a lively discussion on numerous topics. This event was very well attended.
We laid wreaths at the memorial ANZAC Beer Sheba ceremony in October 2015, and the Anzac Commemoration at Mount Scopus cemetery in April 2016.We also laid a wreath on Armistice Day at the war graves cemetery in Ramle.
And finally this afternoon we were able to hear Professor Boaz Ganor, Dean and the Ronald Lauder Chair for Counter-Terrorism at the Lauder School of Government, Diplomacy & Strategy, and Founder and Executive Director of the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism (ICT), at the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC), Herzliya, Israel who spoke on "The art of counterterrorism in the age of ISIS".
I am very fortunate to have an excellent executive committee working hard to make IBCA very successful, for which I am deeply grateful. In particular I should like to thank Sam Lewis my deputy chairman, who has been most active in all aspects of the Association. We rely on him to organize and supervise our major events, and appreciate his attention to every detail. Roger Lavender oversees our finances, and has worked hard to produce the extensive financial report for this meeting. Without Roger's careful analysis of our expenditure throughout the year, we would not be in such a healthy financial position. He also manages to pick out all the mistakes in our circulars before we send them out. I would also like to thank Jeanette Cannon who looks after all our membership and makes sure that the dues are paid. We all appreciate the hard work which is carried out to keep all up to date, especially with the influx of new members. Michael Rosenfelder has pursued his new position of executive secretary with vigour, and has kept us all on our feet. Thanks to Michael for also taking on the Balfour Dinner Brochure. Anton Felton and Irene Gee, more recent IBCA executive committee members, have both been extremely helpful and are always ready to give advice from their rich experience, and help with all the necessary chores.
I must mention the tremendous advice, help and support I have received from two previous chair people of IBCA, Dr. Alan Webber, and Brenda Katten, who have remained on our executive committee and have truly shown loyalty to IBCA. Thanks to all of you; without your help there would be no IBCA. Finally our deep thanks to our executive organizer Renee Singer, who is the person who really runs IBCA and organizes us all. She makes sure that all our activities are successful and take place without a hitch.
Alex Deutsch Chairman IBCA 12th July 2016