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Thatcher Comes out to Honor Retiring British Chief Rabbi

February 27, 1991
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Britain’s chief rabbi, Lord Immanuel Jakobovits, was extolled by one of his most ardent fans, former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, at a dinner this week honoring him on the occasion of his retirement.

It was Thatcher’s first formal speaking engagement since she resigned in December.

No chief rabbi has had “so profound an effect on the life of this nation as Lord Jakobovits,” Thatcher said. She revealed “one of this nation’s worst-kept secrets — that he has had, through his thinking and writing, a deep effect on me as well.”

The Conservative former prime minister and the Orthodox chief rabbi share deeply traditional viewpoints and longevity in office.

Thatcher became prime minister in 1979 and had the longest uninterrupted incumbency of any British prime minister in this century.

Jakobovits will have completed 24 years as chief rabbi when he leaves office next September.

Both he and Thatcher have been controversail figures at times.

The former prime minister observed that Jakobovits was “one of the few who, in every generation, speak out for enduring truths and traditional beliefs, who, first, may be criticized, mocked and even slandered, but who as the years go by, are ever more intently heard, admired and ultimately followed.”

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