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The delegation with President Rivlin

The first ever cross-party delegation of peers to visit Israel have held talks with President Rivlin on the second day of their historic mission.

The president expressed appreciation for the work undertaken by Parliament to combat anti-Semitism.

Led by Lord Leslie Turnberg, the All-Party Britain-Israel Parliamentary Group delegation is made up of 11 Conservative, Labour, Liberal Democrat and cross-bench peers including Lords Leigh and Palmer. 

President Rivlin said: “We greatly appreciate your coming, as a cross-party delegation, to engage with the realities on the ground in Israel and the region. These are difficult days and we all have a duty to work together to build understanding between all peoples. Israel is a Jewish, democratic state which upholds the rule of law – indeed our judicial system in Israel was built by the British in the days of the Mandate – and it is a great pleasure to speak with you about how we are both facing the challenges of today.”

He added: “We appreciate the work that the British Parliament is doing, in partnership with the Jewish community, to combat anti-Semitism. This is an important challenge which requires a firm and united approach.”

The visiting members of the House of Lords spoke about tackling extremism and his efforts to promote equality and understanding across different communities in Israel.

At the same time, seven new Tory MPs are taking part in a delegation organised by Conservative Friends of Israel. As well as accompanying minister Matthew Hancock to a meeting with Benjamin Netanyahu where he will set out new plans to prevent boycotts of Israel, their schedule includes meetings with Supreme Court justices and Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid.

CFI vice-chair John Howell, who is leading the group, said: “This is a much-welcomed step by the Government to stop councils interfering in national foreign policy by boycotting a democratic ally. It’s fitting that the minister is making this much-anticipated announcement in Jerusalem with such a large delegation of MPs and cross-party peers in attendance.”

The parliamentary recess also saw shadow Middle East minister Diana Johnson travelling to Israel with Labour Friends of Israel for meetings including with Public security minister Gilad Erdan and Labor leader Isaac Herzog. She also visited the Peres Centre for Peace, Shaare Zedek Hospital and the Temple Mount, as well as meeting representatives of ‘The Israelis’, a new group opposing boycotts.