United Jewish Israel Appeal

From Powerbase
Jump to: navigation, search
UJIA logo circa 2014

The United Jewish Israel Appeal (UJIA) is 'Britain's major fundraising organization for Israel'.[1] It is the British branch of Keren Hayesod - United Israel Appeal, one of the three 'national institutions' in Israel.

Michael Levy who was the chief fundraiser for Tony Blair during his time as Labour Party leader and Prime Minister has been a key figure in the UJIA.[2] In 1994 the UJIA offices in London were bombed as well as the Israeli embassy following the signature of a peace agreement between Israel and Jordan.[3]


UJIA Blair Scholarships

In 1998 Tony Blair, then UK Prime Minister, launched a British-Israeli youth exhange program on a visit to Israel which coincided with the 50th anniversary of Israel. The grants were named 'UJIA-Blair Fellowships'.[4] The program was designed to bring 'British youngsters completing high school to work here [Israel] in development towns, on kibbutzim, and to learn about the IDF and other elements of Israeli society'.[5]

1998 Annual Fundraising Dinner

The UJIA fundraising dinner of 1998 was addressed by Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. In the same week of Netanyahu's address he met with then Prime Minister Tony Blair and foreign secretary Robin Cook. The previous week the two countries signed a 'memorandum of understanding' aimed at creating greater military co-operation through 'joint research in defense technologies and information exchanges'.[6]

2002 Annual Appeal Auction

In 2002 the UJIA held a fundraising auction hosted by footballer turned actor Vinnie Jones. A range of football shirts were auctioned off including those of English Premiership footballers Michael Owen and David Beckham. One auction winner paid £40,000 to spend Christmas with Vinnie Jones.[7]

2002 Shaul Mofaz Events

In 2002 the UJIA held a dinner at the Hilton hotel in Glasgow where the guest speaker was Shaul Mofaz, the former Israeli army chief of staff.[8] Mofaz also spoke at events in Leeds and Liverpool.[9] All of these events attracted protests because of Mofaz's role in 'Operation Defensive Shield' where 'Israeli forces invaded the West Bank and occupied and sealed off the Palestinian towns of Jenin and Ramallah'.[10]

The Lord Provost of Glasgow, Alex Mosson described Mofaz's visit as a 'shameful stain on the city's reputation' because 'General Mofaz was in charge during some of the most horrendous military attacks on Palestinian civilians; men, women, and children' he denied that Glasgow City Council had any involvement in arranging the event and argued that the sole organisers had been the UJIA.[11]

2003 Rudolph Giuliani Visit to Bolton

In 2003 former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani visitied Bolton in a trip arranged by the UJIA. The main point of his talk was to increase support for the pending invasion of Iraq. In order to do this he warned that he 'shared President George W Bush's concern that Saddam (Hussein) had weapons of mass destruction'.[12]

2004 Annual Fundraising Dinner

In 2004 former U.S. talk show host Jerry Springer was invited by the UJIA to be guest speaker at their annual fundraising dinner. Springer was criticised for being an inappropriate choice of guest speaker.[13]

2005 Gallilee Development Fund

In 2005 Shimon Peres set up a fund and recruting initiative to attract investors interested in developing Gallilee. The fund was headed by UJIA president Brian Kerner. Peres described 'developing the Galilee and Negev' as 'the most important Zionist goal of the 2000s'.[14]

Foreign Secretary David Miliband Hosting Annual UJIA Patrons Dinner 2008

In 2008, David Miliband was a guest of honour and host at the Annual UJIA Partons Dinner. The event took place at the Foreign Office where Miliband welcomed 160 UJIA members. Miliband was introduced by UJIA President Trevor Chinn. At the dinner, Chinn 'recalled the time they spent together in Israel visiting Gap Year students' (during Miliband's first year as foreign secretary), he also described Milliband as a "clever and courageous Foreign Secretary.”

Miliband is reported to have said that it was “a privilege to be amongst friends”. In his speach he described the UJIA as “an organisation with an inclusive vision of Zionism” that the 'whole of Britain' can take inspiration from. He described the organiation as not being "scared to put itself in danger and teaches us that it is Israel which breathes new life into Jewish people".

Miliband also divulged that he had hosted the Foreign Office’s first Chanukah party in December 2007.

In giving thanks, UJIA Chairman Mick Davis spoke of his belief that 'Jewish identity is a healthy way of acknowledging Israel and is a legacy Jewish parents must leave their children'. In concluding he stated that these are needs that must be met “today, tomorrow and forever.”[15] The meeting was attended by controversial Labour Party donor David Martin Abrahams.[16]

2008 Britain-Israel Research and Academic Exchange Partnership (BIRAX)

On a visit to Israel in 2008 Prime Minister Gordon Brown signed an agreement with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to develop a Britain-Israel Research and Academic Exchange Partnership (BIRAX).[17] UJIA helped to kickstart the initiative with a donation of £200,000.[18] Mike Cushman of the London School of Economics argued that Universities should avoid the scheme, saying:

'Much of the finance for these partnerships is clearly coming from parts of the private and voluntary sectors that are allied to Israel ... We are urging our colleagues not to touch any of this funding with a bargepole. It is blood money and they should recognise it as such'.[19]

Cushman's comments were made in the context of the academic boycott of Israel which played a role in the devlopment of the Birax scheme according to Professor David Newman of Ben Gurion University. Newman who had been involved in planning the program from the beginning argued that the program 'has a great deal to do with the boycott' adding:

'Because of the ongoing discussion of boycotts the British government decided that the most appropriate response was to strengthen research ties'.[20]

2008 United Jewish Israel Appeal dinner addressed by Gordon Brown

Prime Minister Gordon Brown addressed the UJIA 2008 appeal dinner where he delivered a speech on the subject of irresponsibility in the financial system. Brown argued that 'When risk-taking crosses the line between the responsible entrepreneurship we want to celebrate and irresponsible risk-taking then we have to take action to ensure that markets work in the public interest to reflect shared values'[21]

Brown also used the dinner as a platform to make clear that his Government 'would oppose any boycott of Israeli goods or Israeli academics'.[22]

Other Events

The UJIA also hold an 'annual property reception'[23]and an 'annual ladies luncheon'.[24]


Bill Benjamin, Chair, and Michael Wegier, Chief Executive, of the UJIA. Screenshot from UJIA, Our people. Accessed 13 February 2014.
Mick Davis former CEO of Xstrata, UJIA Honorary President and former Chairman (until 2012) and a member of the Jewish Leadership Council (JLC). Screengrab from UJIA Mick Davis. Retrieved from the Internet Archive of 2 October 2008 on 13 February 2014
UJIA Lay leadership organogram, circa 2010. Source Ujia.org. Accessed 14 February 2014.


  • Bill Benjamin has been the Chairman of UJIA since the beginning of 2013. Benjamin is also on the Board of Trustees of the Jewish Leadership Council (JLC). From 2008-2012, he served as Co-Chairman of the Assembly of Masorti Synagogues. Benjamin is founding partner of AREA Property Partners, a global private equity firm specialising in commercial real estate. Prior to AREA, he worked in the real estate finance group of Bankers Trust Company in New York.[25]
  • Michael Wegier has been Chief Executive of UJIA since September 2012. Wegier grew up in London and originally made Aliyah in 1990 and has spend much of the last 23 years living in Israel. Most recently he served as Executive Director of the Melitz Educational Centre in Jerusalem. From 2002-2007, Wegier spent five years seconded from Israel with UJIA.[26]

UJIA Lay Leaders including Trustees


  • Mick Davis UJIA Chairman. Chief Executive of Xstrata plc, a diversified mining and metals company listed on the London Stock Exchange and is in the top 20 of the FTSE100 with a market value of circa $65 billion.
  • Douglas Krikler Chief Executive. Joined UJIA in October 2004 as Vice Chairman, and has been Chief Executive since April 2005.[28] Krikler was listed in 33rd place in the Jewish Chronicle's top 100 'of those who wield the greatest influence on British Jewry' which reports him as 'running a tight ship'.[29]

UJIA Lay Leaders including Trustees

*Also Trustees of UJIA.[30]


* Trustees of the United Jewish Israel Appeal[31]



Michael L . Davis (appointed 15 September 2005) (Chairman) | Keith Black (appointed 24 November 2005) | Michael Bradfield (resigned 31 December 2005) | David M. Cohen | Sam Clarke FCA | Michael Goldstein FCA | Alan Jacobs | Brian Kerner | Peter Leach FCA (resigned 24 November 2005) | Michael Lewis | Geoffrey Ognall | Gary Philips (resigned 24 November 2005) | Jerome Reback | Carolyn L Rubin (appointed 25 January 2006) | Anthony Warrens | Michael Ziff (resigned 31 December 2005)[32]


* Trustees of the United Jewish Israel Appeal[33]


Income and expenditure of the UJIA 2009-2012.[34]
UJIA financial overview year ending 30 September 2012. Source: The Charity Commission. Accessed 12 February 2014

Associated organisations, Affiliations, Contact, Notes


Companies associated with the UJIA

Created 1950s

Created 1987

  • UJ Events Plus Ltd - 02194244 - Incorporated on 16 November 1987- 1 Torriano Mews, London, NW5 2RZ

Created 1990s

Created 2010s


Former names

United Palestine Appeal (created 1944) | Joint Palestine Appeal (created 1947) | Joint Israel Appeal (from 1973-1996) |


In November 2003 Secretary of State for Defence, Geoff Hoon gave a speech to the United Jewish Israel Appeal. In his speech he declared that he is a 'strong supporter' of Labour Friends of Israel and a good friend of Trevor Chinn[35].


UJIA is a registered charity in England and Wales No. 1060078 and in Scotland No. Sc 039181
A company limited by guarantee. Registered in England No. 3295115.
Registered office: (20/7/2009 - 24/11/2015): 37 Kentish Town Road, London NW1 8NX
(24/11/2015 - present): 1 Torriano Mews, London, NW5 2RZ
Web: ujia.org
Internet Archive holdings of ujia.org 2002-present.


  1. Bushinsky, J. et al. (1998), News in Brief, The Jerusalem Post, 12-April-1998
  2. Davis, D. (1999), The Man Behind Blair, The Jerusalem Post, 24-September-1999
  3. Belfast Telegraph, Bomb attack at British Embassy, Belfast Telegraph, 13-October-2000
  4. Bushinsky, J. et al. (1998), News in Brief, The Jerusalem Post, 12-April-1998
  5. Cohen, A.D. (1998), UK Jews establish Blair Fellowships, The Jerusalem Post, 21-April-1998
  6. Davis, D. (1998), Britain Signs Military Co-operation Deal, Jerusalem Post, 22-November-1998
  7. Harris, H. (2002), Vinnie's Smokin', Sunday Express, 13-October-2002
  8. Pg. 4, Vandals' blaze bid at Scots synagogue, Evening Times, 26-October-2002
  9. Weston, A. (2002), Palestinian City Protest, Liverpool Echo, 29-October-2002
  10. Yorkshire Evening Post, Israeli chief faces demo over Jenin, Yorkshire Evening Post, 28-October-2002
  11. Council had Nothing to do with Mofaz Visit, The Herald, 31-October-2002, p. 17.
  12. News, New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani's Bolton appeal, UK Newsquest Regional Press - This is Lancashire, 24-January-2003
  13. Bates, S. (2005), Scrap Jerry Springer invitation, say rabbis, The Guardian, 21-January-2005
  14. Hayoun, D. (2005), Peres setting up Galilee development fund; Vice Premier Shimon Peres: It will possible to launch tourist projects in the Galilee, as well as establishing and expanding industrial parks, which will provide thousands of jobs for local residents, Globes [online] - Israel's Business Arena, 28-February-2005
  15. UJIA David Miliband hosts UJIA Patrons Accessed 18th September 2008
  16. Walker, T. (2008), Miliband's dinner guest list raises some eyebrows; mandrake, The Daily Telegraph, 05-August-2008
  17. Wadlocks, E.Z. (2008), Israeli, UK PMs launch new academic exchange programme, BBC Monitoring Middle East - Political: Supplied by BBC Worldwide Monitoring, 21-July-2008
  18. Wadlocks, E.Z. (2008), Israeli, UK PMs launch new academic exchange programme, BBC Monitoring Middle East - Political: Supplied by BBC Worldwide Monitoring, 21-July-2008
  19. Corbyn, Z. (2008), Research intelligence - Promised land proffers cash, Times Higher Education Supplement, 31-July-2008
  20. Waldoks, E.Z. (2008), Olmert Brown launch new academic exchange program, The Jerusalem Post, 21-July-2008
  21. London, Britain mulls extending bank guarantee, Agence France Presse, 6-October-2008
  22. Home News, Home News, Press Association, 6-October-2008
  23. Coffer, A. (2003), Norris raises fears that Crossrail will 'never happen', EGI Web News, 4-July-2003
  24. Kay, R. (2003), Poor Carole just can't keep schtum, Daily Mail, 20-October-2003
  25. UJIA UJIA Chairman. Accessed 12 February 2014.
  26. UJIA UJIA Chief Executive. Accessed 12 February 2014.
  27. UJIA UJIA Lay leaders. Accessed 12 February 2014.
  28. UJIA Who we are: Transparency, accessed 20 October 2011
  29. The Jewish Chronicle 'Others on the list: Numbers 31-100' 9th May 2008. Accessed 19th August 2008
  30. 2011 appointments from: UJIA Lay Leaders, accessed 20 October 2011
  31. UJIA The People, Retrieved from the Internet Archive of 5 July 2006, accessed 20 October 2011
  32. United Jewish Israel Appeal, Annual report and financial statements for the year ended 30 September 2005, p. 4.
  33. UJIA The People, Retrieved from the Internet Archive of 14 February 2004, accessed 20 October 2011
  34. Screenshot taken 13 February 2014 from: Extract from the Scottish Charity Register United Jewish Israel Appeal, SC039181 Registered charity from 30-01-2008.
  35. Hoon, G. (2003) Speech by Secretary of State for Defence, Geoff Hoon, to the United Jewish Israel Appeal. 13th November 2003. accessed 2nd July 2008