Britain’s prime minister made a surprise visit to the Israel’s Independence Day reception at the Israeli embassy in London.
Gordon Brown was the first British prime minister to attend the reception since Tony Blair in 1998, when Israel celebrated its 50th anniversary. Israeli Ambassador Ron Prosor told JTA he didn’t know until the last minute whether Brown would attend the 60th birthday event.
Brown made his first entry onto the Jewish Chronicle’s list of 100 most influential figures in British Jewish life, which was published last weekend, at No. 29.
Public relations consultant Ben Rich, who chaired the panel that compiled the list, told JTA that although perceived as friendly toward the Jewish community, several members of the panel thought Brown lacked the “natural affinity” of Blair, who obtained a higher rating when he was prime minister.
Prosor, another first entry, was No. 10 on the list.
“With Prosor there’s a feeling among British Jews that at last there’s someone here who can speak for Israel,” Rich said.
Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks headed the list, which also featured the community’s biggest donors, heads of major organizations, prominent rabbis and influential columnists.