An envoy departs
There was much murmuring among Anglo-Jewry over Zvi Heifetz’s 2004 appointment as Israeli ambassador to the Court of St James. Doubts were raised over his status as a political appointee and his qualifications as a diplomat, not to mention the sniping over his English-language skills. But it is important to remember that this was during a time when the community was still fragile from the fall-out of the intifada, experiencing hostility both in the media and increasingly in the form of attempted boycotts and even physical attacks. Perhaps AngloJewry expected a new Israeli envoy magically to soothe all such tensions. Indeed, the situation has improved in the intervening years, for which credit must go to both our grassroots activists and communal institutions and figures, among whom Mr Heifetz can be proud to count himself. Now, we can allow ourselves to enjoy a sense of naches that “one of our own” will be working with Tony Blair on the next stage of Palestinian nation-building. Perhaps we should also allow ourselves to admit that Mr Heifetz’s appointment proves that sometimes an unconventional approach to diplomacy can reap benefits.