Isaac Herzog and Tzipi Livni, co-leaders of the Zionist Union Party

Isaac Herzog and Tzipi Livni, co-leaders of the Zionist Union Party

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has been accused of being “naive” about the Middle East by his left-of-centre counterpart in Israel.

Isaac Herzog, the Opposition leader in Jerusalem, distanced himself from Corbyn and his “unrealistic” policies, in an interview with The Telegraph this week.

Discussing Corbyn’s past criticism of Israel, in which he has supported calls for an arms embargo against the Jewish state, Herzog said: “I think it’s a naive approach that doesn’t understand the reality in the region [and] the world.”

He added: “When one sees the ISIL (Islamic State) phenomena, based upon the awakening of young people who are brainwashed…one needs to understand that a naive approach against those winds that lead towards conflict is an unrealistic approach. Therefore clearly I beg to differ deeply with Mr Corbyn on this issue.”

As a backbencher, Corbyn encouraged dialogue as a means to resolve dispute and met several militant or terrorist groups, including senior representatives of Sinn Fein, Hamas and Hezbollah. The Jewish community in the UK has consistently vilified him for calling the latter two “friends”.

Asked about links between Corbyn’s Labour party and Herzog’s Labor party, which is now amalgamated into a merged group called Zionist Union, Herzog downplayed any links.

“He is not my ‘fellow’ Labour Party leader,” he said. “He’s the Labour Party leader in Britain.”

Herzog is the latest centrist Israeli politician to pour scorn on Corbyn as the current Opposition leader in the UK. Last year Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid, in an interview with Jewish News, said the prospect of Corbyn as prime minister “freezes my blood”.