The DUP returns to Westminster with ten MPs and are the Conservative’s most natural allies to achieve a working majority.
And that might be good news for Israel.
Northern Ireland’s DUP MPs – including the experienced and well-respected Nigel Dodds and Ian Paisley, son of the party’s founder, are amongst the staunchest supporters of Israel in the House of Commons.
Their MPs regularly speak at meetings of Northern Ireland Friends of Israel and when some years ago the issue of recognising Palestine came up at Westminster the party turned up in block to register opposition. Indeed, they formed a full 5 of the 12 MPs that opposed it.
DUP MPs also spoke prominently in the debate earlier this year on the Balfour centenary and have been outspoken in condemning Palestinian incitement and funding for terrorist prisoners.
They have taken an active part in opposing antisemitism both in Northern Ireland and elsewhere and supported the Belfast Jewish community’s and Board of Deputies manifesto for the recent Northern Ireland Assembly elections.
When the Board of Deputies visited Stormont to promote the manifesto, the DUP deployed both its overall leader, Northern Ireland First Minister Arlene Foster, and Westminster leader Nigel Dodds to meet us, such is their desire to demonstrate friendship.
There are fewer than 80 members of the Jewish community in Northern Ireland. So it seems hard to reconcile the DUP’s interest in Israel and matters of Jewish concern with electoral self-interest.
But Northern Ireland is the UK’s bible belt. Like the American south, Christian Zionism is a potent force amongst Ulster’s church-going Protestant community, the traditional heartland of DUP support.
This biblical focus also makes the party socially conservative on issues such as abortion and gay marriage.
But as the largest party in Northern Ireland with a large working-class support it is hard to pigeon-hole the DUP in the left versus right terms of Westminster politics. Likewise their support for Israel is also secular.
They draw parallels between Northern Ireland’s experience of terrorism and Israel’s and feel that both Ulster unionists and Israeli Jews get an unfair hearing in the world’s press.
In particular, their experience of peace making in Northern Ireland makes them wary of international interference which is one-sided or prescriptive.
The DUP will be no pushovers in negotiating a parliamentary pact with the Conservatives – Northern Ireland has special Brexit needs as it shares a land border with the Irish Republic. But there is no doubt on Middle Eastern issues they will be a friendly and positive influence for Israel.
Belfast-born Steven Jaffe is a consultant to the Board of Deputies of British Jews. His work is part funded by the Jewish Leadership Council.