Some of the Jewish community’s biggest political supporters left the cabinet in Boris Johnson’s reshuffle on Thursday, with Chancellor Sajid Javid and Theresa Villiers at DEFRA among them.
While other strong supporters such as Priti Patel and Michael Gove remained in-place as home secretary and cabinet office minister respectively, Javid and Villiers will be seen as losses by groups such as Conservative Friends of Israel.
Javid’s successes include banning local authorities from boycotting Israel, pushing a post-Brexit UK-Israel trade deal, pumping government money into Holocaust education, adding Hezbollah to the Treasury’s list of proscribed terrorist groups, and supporting plans for a controversial Holocaust memorial next to Parliament.
He has also visited both Auschwitz and Israel, and is a regular speaker at Jewish and pro-Israel fundraising events, despite suffering abuse from the Muslim community for doing so.
Villiers likewise has been a parliamentary supporter of Jewish causes, including her most recent success extending the ten-year “sunset clause” for museums to return Nazi-looted art to the descendants of their original Jewish owners.
At the Department for Food and Rural Affairs she was seen as having a key role for Jewish groups keen to protect shechita (Jewish ritual slaughter) from calls to ban it on animal welfare grounds by veterinary associations.
Javid is replaced as Chancellor by Rishi Sunak, a Hindu whose parents were immigrants, like his predecessor. Last year Sunak used a speech in the Commons to praise the Jewish community’s “phenomenal” contribution.