British Ambassador to Israel joins EDRS for Shabbat
His Excellency, the British Ambassador to Israel, Matthew Gould CMG MBE is the first Jew to serve a British Ambassador to Israel. Growing up at Middlesex New Reform Synagogue, he felt quite at home when visiting the Edgware and District Reform Synagogue for the Shabbat service on 21 June 2014. Following the BarMitzva of Benjamin Levy from JCoss school, the Ambassador gave a few words of wisdom and encouragement to the BarMitzva boy before addressing the congregation on his appointment.
Ambassador Gould spoke of his pride at Israel's achievements in science and technology, with medical and other technological advances. He is directly responsible for round-tabling British and Israeli firms who are working together at the highest levels. He recalled the wisdom of a former US Ambassador to the country, who said that what Israel needs is a good night's sleep!
He spoke of how he believes there should never be an inner conflict between one's patriotism to Britain and one's love of Israel as a Jew. He reflected on EDRS' weekly prayers for both the Queen and her advisors, and for the State of Israel. He was proud of the relationship between Great Britain and Israel, and that both the Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition had visited Israel. But he expressed the worry that Israel was losing support in the UK and the world - he said Israel currently had fewer friends in the British Parliament than it did 5 years ago.
The Ambassador demonstrated how in many ways Israel is understood by others, and in how in other ways she cannot get her point across - and how little support there was for the settlements outside of Israel. He felt that Israel felt like the weaker victim, the David, up against the Goliath of neighbouring enemies, yet Israel was seen by the world as Goliath and not as the "underdog".
The Ambassador joined the EDRS community for a festive Kiddush after the service and commented on how vibrant and welcoming the community was. His Excellency was met and hosted by EDRS Chair, Stephen Garfinkel and President, Keith Price.