The Zion­ist leader head­ing for Zion

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS - BY LEON SY­MONS

AT AN age when many would con­sider re­tire­ment, 65-year-old Andrew Bal­combe is to join the ranks of the long-dis­tance com­muters.

The chair­man of the Zion­ist Fed­er­a­tion is mak­ing aliyah this week — but is con­tin­u­ing in his com­mu­nal role. He will have com­pleted his first twoyear stint but plans to stand again when the post comes up for elec­tion in Septem­ber.

“I will be trav­el­ling back and forth be­tween Is­rael and Bri­tain, but it won’t be as of­ten as some peo­ple who do it weekly,” said Mr Bal­combe. “In fact, I and my wife Jean feel priv­i­leged to be go­ing to Is­rael at this time.

“I will be com­ing back as much as I am re­quired by the ZF. For in­stance, I will be back in June, Septem­ber and Novem­ber for var­i­ous events.

“We have built up the ZF con­sid­er­ably in the past cou­ple of years. There is a full pro­gramme for the com­ing year and I have a very good team around me. That, to­gether with the ben­e­fits of mod­ern tech­nol­ogy, means that I have no qualms about go­ing,” he said.

Mr Bal­combe, a Har­vard busi­ness grad­u­ate, is cur­rently the chair­man of one com­pany and on the boards of sev­eral more, in­clud­ing one Is­raeli high­tech busi­ness.

He and his wife have owned a prop­erty in Is­rael for 14 years and have de­cided to go now be­cause two of his three chil­dren and eight grand­chil- dren live there al­ready. One son, a doc­tor, did live in Is­rael but is now work­ing in Amer­ica.

Mr Bal­combe said: “The ZF does a lot of work in Is­rael. For in­stance, we have a mis­sion go­ing in July — so that makes even more sense.

“It’s not easy leav­ing the home we’ve had for 38 years and all our friends. But there are ter­rific op­por­tu­ni­ties, and a very good life in Is­rael.”

PHOTO: JOHN RIFKIN

Com­muter: Andrew Bal­combe

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