Marie van der Zyl narrowly re-elected Board of Deputies president
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Marie van der Zyl narrowly re-elected Board of Deputies president

Incumbent received 161 votes from Deputies, while challenger Jonathan Neumann got 125

Lee Harpin is the Jewish News's political editor

Marie van der Zyl
Marie van der Zyl

Marie van der Zyl has been re-elected as President of the Board of Deputies, after defeating Jonathan Neumann in the President election.

In a result that was closer than many expected van der Zyl received 161 votes from Deputies, while Neumann got 125.

The turn-out for the presidential election was 95.98 per cent, with 286 votes cast.

Speaking to Jewish News after her close fought victory over her presidential challenger, the Board’s newly elected president said: “It is time to move on – and to move on with unity as well.

“People need to come together – it’s been a very difficult, tense, political election and we all need to remember we are working for the benefit of the community.”

Mrs van der Zyl said she recognised that the size of her majority in the election show that was “polarised opinion” with the community.

She added:”It is my job as president to bring about harmonisation. We will have to work very hard together to rebuild trust and working relationships throughout the entire organisation.

“Polarisation is a worry, these results are political, and they do show an increasingly polarisation in the community.”

Thanking deputies for electing her for a second she earlier told them:  “I do not take your support for granted, after all you had a democratic choice.

“I have listened carefully to what you have had to sayand we will look at improving plenaries and increasing Deputy involvement.”

She said she would be “looking to restore “collegiality which at times has been missing after the last few months.”

Gary Mond, David Mendoza-Wolfson and Amanda Bowman were elected as Vice Presidents of the Board of Deputies.

Mond topped the poll and will be Senior Vice President.  Ben Crowne was elected as Treasurer unopposed.

Jonathan Neumann told Jewish News: “While there’s disappointment that we fell short, I am delighted to have received more votes than any unsuccessful Presidential candidate in the Board’s history, and the narrowness of the margin shows there is a strong appetite for change. I am proud of the positive, issues-based campaign we fought, and for the support we received beyond the Board from swathes of ordinary Jews who do not feel represented by their leadership. The Board has many challenges ahead, and I wish the new team of Honorary Officers hatzlacha rabbah in meeting them.”

Jonathan Neumann

The contenders for vice-president of the Board were elected through the single transferable vote system with Gary Mond getting 86 votes, David Mendoza-Wolfson 74 votes, and Amanda Bowman 77 votes in the second round.

As Mond received the highest number of votes in the first round he became senior vice-president.

Interim Chief Executive Michael Wegier said: “I would like to thank all of the 286 Deputies who voted in these elections, which is a testament to the vibrant democracy in our community. I would also like to express my gratitude to  everyone who took part and who made the elections possible under trying circumstances.”

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