LONDON (Jul. 31)
The Board of Deputies of British Jews this morning gave an emotional welcome to Yehuda Avner, who later this week will present his letters of accreditation to the Queen as the new Ambassador of Israel.
Among the 500 Deputies from all over the United Kingdom were some who knew him before he settled in British-ruled Palestine 37 years ago. He was born in Manchester, where he was active in the Bnai Akiva religious Zionist youth movement.
The Deputies’ president. Labor MP Greville Janner, assured Avner that the Anglo-Jewish community would give him “warm, firm and permanent support.”
Avner, flanked by his wife, also originally from England, reciprocated the Board’s prolonged ovation with a pledge to devote himself “body and soul, not only to his diplomatic duties but to the strengthening of Jewish education, work for Soviet Jewry and to drawing Anglo-Jewry and Israel closer together.”
He also paid warm tribute to his predecessor, Shlomo Argov, who remains incapacitated since a terrorist attack in London last year. Technically, Argov remains Ambassador here until Avner goes back to Buckingham Palace when, in addition to presenting his own letters of accreditation, he will give the Queen the Israeli government’s letter formally recalling Argov.
Although Avner made a politically explicit speech this morning, which included warm references to Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin, the press was asked not to publish it. This is because of the tradition that incoming Ambassadors refrain from substantial public statements until after presenting their credentials to the head of state of the host country.