Israel’s ambassador to the UK, Tzipi Hotovely, and her deputy, Oren Marmorstein, have led tributes to the businessman and philanthropist Marc Worth, who died suddenly last Friday while playing tennis.
Nottingham-born Mr Worth, 61, chaired UK Israel Business, the successor organisation to the British-Israel Chamber of Commerce, and initiated the hugely successful projects in 2017 and 2019, Tel Aviv in London and London in Tel Aviv.
Israel’s ambassador to the UK, Tzipi Hotovely, worked closely with Marc Worth. She said: “I am deeply saddened by the passing of Marc Worth. Marc was a generous philanthropist, who regularly gave his time and wisdom to strengthen the relationship between our two democracies. The state of Israel is extremely grateful for his years as chair of UK Israel Business, and of course his Tel Aviv in London initiative, that will long be remembered. Marc was a true and close friend of the embassy, where his leadership will be much missed”.
The deputy ambassador, Oren Marmorstein, said he was “deeply saddened” by Mr Worth’s death. Describing him as “one of a kind in his support of Israel”, the diplomat said the country had lost one of its greatest friends in the UK, while he himself had lost a personal friend”.
Mr Worth, a leading member of BBYO in his youth, left school aged 16 and began his business life with his brother, Julian, in the family company, HeatSeal Textiles. The siblings were said to have been early adopters of the internet and could see its potential from the mid-90s.
Marc Worth and his brother launched a fashion trend prediction business, World Global Style Network, in 1997. The renamed WGSN was sold for £140 million in 2005. Marc Worth then began a design trends consultancy, Stylus.com, which also found international success.
Around the same time as he sold WGSN, Marc Worth became involved in community philanthropy. A passionate Zionist with a second home in Herzliya, he was a member of the board of governors of Shenkar College, regarded as Israel’s top design school.
He became chair of UK Israel Business, and friends speak of him having “galvanised” the organisation and pushed it to be hugely effective.
Danny Kessler, his successor as chair of UK Israel Business, said: “It is with great sadness that we at UKIB learnt of Marc Worth’s sudden passing. Marc was one of life’s doers, and as my predecessor he was an inspirational chair of UKIB (2011–2015), who continued to do an immense amount to encourage entrepreneurs and trade between the UK and Israel.
“Marc spearheaded the Innovate Israel events which transformed UKIB’s bilateral role, and most recently we were working closely together on a series of initiatives to mark Israel’s 75th anniversary, to develop further the special relationship between the UK and Israel.
“He leaves a legacy of which we are all very proud, and his indomitable spirit as both a business and community leader will be sorely missed”.
The two big events for which he became best-known were his Tel Aviv in London and London in Tel Aviv projects, known by the international airport codes of TLV and LDN. They were festivals of music, food, the arts and business, and took Tel Aviv to the streets of London in a way not previously experienced.
Tali Tzemach, a producer and close collaborator, said: “It is with heavy hearts that we at Tzemach Productions mourn the loss of our dear friend and philanthropist Marc Worth. Marc was a visionary, who brought his relentless drive, creativity and passion to all the projects he worked on with us —from TLV in LDN in 2017, to LDN in TLV in 2019, and Project 75, which he was leading until today”.
She said that Mr Worth had “touched the hearts of so many across the Jewish and Israeli community, through his love of Israel and desire to spotlight peace, co-existence, culture and shared values amongst all those he crossed paths with. He will be deeply missed by all of us”.
Mr Worth, a member of Hampstead Synagogue, was married twice; first to Hilda Worth, chair of the Conservative Friends of Israel and vice-chair of World Jewish Relief. She is a former co-chair of Jewish Women’s Aid. She and her former husband had four children, Patti, Max, Henry and Louis, and three grandchildren.
Mr Worth is also survived by his second wife, Kelly, and his three stepchildren, Annabelle, Max and Sophie, together with his brother Julian and sister Erica.
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