Former senior Board executive resigns from JNF UK

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Former senior Board executive resigns from JNF UK

Gary Mond exits three associated companies but denies he was asked to go as the Charity Commission continues its probe into JNF UK.

Gary Mond
Gary Mond

The former senior vice-president at the Board of Deputies who resigned last year ahead of an investigation into alleged Islamophobic posts has stepped down from JNF UK, where he was treasurer, and for which he has been the deputy.

Gary Mond, 63, resigned from JNF Charitable Trust, as well as KKL Charity Accounts (‘SmartGiving’) and 95 Church Road Hendon Ltd, a wholly owned real estate subsidiary of JNF Charitable Trust, at the end of February 2023.

Last year the Charity Commission opened a “regulatory case” on JNF UK following comments made by Mond and its chairman Samuel Hayek, 69, the latter saying Muslim immigration in the UK meant that “Jews have no future in England”.

Hayek added that “in Islam there is not a term for ‘peace’,” in remarks that were condemned by a range of Jewish communal and religious leaders, with calls for JNF UK to surrender its membership of the Board of Deputies until Hayek left. Weeks later, Mond was in the headlines too.

In January 2022, Mond resigned from the London Jewish Forum and from his role as senior vice-president at the Board of Deputies after the Board launched an investigation into past social media posts uncovered by Jewish News. The Charity Commission also launched an investigation into his comments.

Mond ‘liked’ two posts by Pamela Geller, the American anti-Islam commentator who is banned from the UK for hate speech. He also claimed that civilisation was “at war” with Islam, saying: “Just as Islam has lost before in history, it will lose again.”

Initially he refused to stand aside, which prompted a dramatic meeting of the Board’s trustees to vote on his suspension. He then resigned, reluctantly, calling it an “attempt to silence contradictory thought”.

This week, 15 months since the Charity Commission first announced action, a spokesperson said: “We have an ongoing case into JNF UK, opened due to concerns regarding the conduct of one of the charity’s trustees, as well as the conduct of a now former trustee.”

Listed in the Objects of the JNF Charitable Trust in its articles of association is the aim of “promoting religious and racial harmony and social cohesion” such as by “promoting interfaith projects”.

Mond denied that he had been pushed out or that his comments had caused JNF UK problems. “I was not asked to resign by anyone,” he said. “I chose to retire owing to the substantial time commitment of running my own business, as well as my major new activity of chairing the National Jewish Assembly.”

He added: “I will definitely remain involved with JNF UK going forward. I am of course sad to step down, as anyone would be after a thoroughly enjoyable 12 years of service. I am also immensely proud of all that JNF UK has achieved in this time.”

In 2021, the latest year for which there are figures, KKL Charity Accounts (‘SmartGiving’) received donations totalling almost £8.5m.

Hayek, who is no longer believed to be based in the UK, has led JNF-UK for 15 years, serving five consecutive three-year terms since 2008.

Under the organisation’s articles of association, a director was limited to five terms, or 15 years, but at JNF-UK’s annual general meeting in November last year, a special resolution was adopted to amend the articles of association, extending the maximum term of office for an honorary officer or director to six terms, or 18 years, meaning that Hayek can now serve until 2026.

Hayek is a current director of nine companies or organisations linked to JNF, including JNF Ltd, Jewish National Fund Ltd, JNF Executor and Trustee Company Ltd, KKL Ltd, Jewish National Fund for Israel Ltd, JNF UK Ltd, JNF Charitable Trust, KKL Executor and Trustee Company Ltd, and KKL Charity Accounts.

He was also a director of several others, including JNF/KKL Ltd, KKL/JNF Ltd, and the KKL Charitable Trust, but these have since been dissolved.

Late last year, Hayek led a JNF UK delegation on a four-day trip to Israel, attended by Mond, who remains chairman of the advisory board of the National Jewish Assembly, a company incorporated in February 2022, a month after he resigned from the Board.

A spokesperson for JNF UK said: “Gary Mond has retired as a trustee after over a decade of service. JNF UK thanks him for his efforts to improve the lives of some of Israel’s most vulnerable and underprivileged communities.”

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