Israel Expo success
Last updated: 2003-12-15
ZF Expo - photo: Adrian Korsner
Amid tight security provided by the police and the CST on the day that Saddam Hussein's capture was announced to the world, Israel Expo 2003 went ahead in London on Sunday.
"Expo 2003 scored over previous attempts to bring Israel trade to Britain with the public coming in their thousands with the specific intention of supporting Israeli business," said Prof Eric Moonman, president of the Zionist Federation which organised the day-long event with the help of the Jewish Agency.
"The news of Saddam's capture was announced soon after the event opened at 10 o'clock amid wild cheering from those present and far from overshadowing the day it helped to create a tremendous atmosphere that was sustained throughout the whole day. I would say that without doubt it has been an overwhelming success."
The security operation brought praise from Alan Aziz, the ZF's executive director. He said: "It is unfortunate that we have to have such a high level of security but I would like to offer my thanks to the police and to the CST who did a wonderful job."
More than 150 stands, including food and wine, silver and jewellery, Judaica and art, tourism, property sales and services as well as charitable institutions, were on show at the Business Design Centre in Islington, north London, with an estimated 10,000 people attending.
One of the busiest stands was the Ora Gifts' stand, run by Elazer Refoua, from Jerusalem also pulled in the crowds.
"It gives me a chance to meet new customers and also to welcome many of my old customers. I am really pleased to be here," said Mr Refoua.
Carmel Wines also went down well - they sold out more than two hours before the scheduled close.
"At 11am, I had sold virtually nothing, but then we had a terrific spurt and by a quarter to four we were completely sold out," said Carmel's representative Eva Tene. "We weren't here last year, but we will certainly be coming again."
Also drawing the crowds was the stand manned by the Metropolitan Police's Jewish Police Association, whose secretary PC Danny Phillips, a recruitment officer in the force, said: "We have been inundated with inquiries from people who are interested; people who are unaware of the Jewish Police Association. It has been a good public relations opportunity for us. Many people didn't know of the Jewish Police Association and were surprised to learn that 200 Jewish people work for the Met."