In my New Year message 12 months ago I wrote that 2016 had been the most tumultuous year in British political life in living memory. This year has been barely less eventful with a surprise General Election producing an even bigger surprise.

Through this period of political uncertainty the Board of Deputies has represented the Jewish community with a clear and calm voice. Our Jewish Manifesto for the election campaign contained detailed advocacy of the policies of interest and concern to UK Jews. We continue to call on party leaders to act swiftly to expunge hatred wherever it rears its ugly head, whether this be in the Labour, Liberal Democrat or Conservative parties.

This year, having been thwarted for 12 years, terrorists finally managed to claim innocent lives in the UK. The attacks by Islamists and the attack on worshippers outside a mosque in London lend an urgency to my longstanding commitment to building bridges with Muslim communities. Israel has also lost innocent lives this year. We at the Board of Deputies stand resolutely behind Israel. We leave nobody in any doubt as to our commitment.

This year, we launched the pioneering 'Invest in Peace' programme with church umbrella body Churches Together in Britain and Ireland to support Israelis and Palestinians who reach across the divide for reconciliation. At home, we have continued to interact through all levels of government and we have worked internationally through our relations with foreign embassies and links with our Jewish partner organisations overseas. 

We have staunchly defended Jewish schools and Jewish education and our Jewish Living Experience exhibition has informed non-Jewish children and adults about our way of life. Our research partnership with the Institute of Jewish Policy Research has produced ground-breaking new reports on Jewish schools and synagogue membership.

In 5778 we will continue to represent your interests and wishes. May this New Year bring you, your families and all of Am Yisrael health, strength and peace.