Jewish leaders ‘looking forward’ to working with next PM Boris Johnson
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Jewish leaders ‘looking forward’ to working with next PM Boris Johnson

British and Israeli figures congratulate new leader on his election and urge him to stop Jeremy Corbyn, but there is also criticism of his past remarks about minorities

Boris Johnson speaks after being announced as the  new Conservative party leader. Photo credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire
Boris Johnson speaks after being announced as the new Conservative party leader. Photo credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

Political and communal figures representing Jewish and pro-Israel organisations in the UK and abroad have reacted with delight to Tuesday’s announcement that Boris Johnson is to become the UK’s new prime minister.

It follows his expected victory in the Conservative Party’s leadership election to replace Theresa May, which he fought against foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt.

Board of Deputies’ president Marie van der Zyl congratulated him, saying: “We wish Boris Johnson every success as Prime Minister at this critical time for our country. We have had a long and positive relationship with Mr Johnson as both Mayor of London and Foreign Secretary and we look forward to this continuing as he enters Downing Street.”

Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis wrote on Facebook: “I am delighted to congratulate Boris Johnson, a longstanding friend and champion of the Jewish community, on becoming the next leader of the Conservative Party and our next Prime Minister. As he accepts upon himself the mantle of responsibility to lead our nation, may he be blessed with the wisdom to successfully navigate the political uncertainties we face and bring healing and prosperity to our great country.”

Former Conservative cabinet minister and the UK’s Special Envoy for Post-Holocaust Issues Lord (Eric) Pickles was among the first to congratulate Johnson, saying: “The vote was decisive, he has a clear mandate. MPs should respect the result and get behind him. To do otherwise would be deeply dishonourable.”

Conservative Friends of Israel chair Stephen Crabb MP said the lobby group was “looking forward to working with Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his new Government to take the deep UK-Israel relationship from strength to strength”.

“I am delighted to congratulate Boris Johnson, a longstanding friend and champion of the Jewish community, on becoming…

פורסם על ידי ‏‎Chief Rabbi Mirvis‎‏ ב- יום שלישי, 23 ביולי 2019

He added: “From his refusal to boycott Israeli goods in his time as Mayor of London, through to his instrumental role as Foreign Secretary in both the landmark Balfour Declaration celebrations and the first-ever official Royal visit to Israel, Boris has a long history of standing shoulder to shoulder with Israel and the Jewish community.

Crabb applauded Johnson’s “deep support for Israel” and for his pledge “to be a champion for Jews in Britain and around the world”.

Representing Conservative-supporting Orthodox Jews, Levi Schapiro from the Stamford Hill-based Jewish Community Council said: “Boris has been a big supporter of our work for many years now and we have a very personal strong relationship. We look forward to working with him and his new cabinet.”

Zionist Federation chair Paul Charney said: “We extend congratulations and a hearty Mazel Tov to Boris… We welcome his appointment and look forward to PM Johnson strengthening the already inseparable ties between Britain and its closest Middle East ally, Israel.”

Liberal Judaism, whose chief executive is a Labour councillor, said it “looks forward to working with Boris Johnson, the new Prime Minister, as we have with Prime Ministers over the last decade”.

Even lifelong Labour Party supporter Lord (Alan) Sugar tweeted: “Congratulations @BorisJohnson, now it’s up to you to block @jeremycorbyn.”

Not all British Jews were thrilled, however. Actor and writer David Schneider said: “I for one welcome our new lying racist dog-whistling, incompetent, principle-free, bull********, back-stabbing, British-citizen-in-Iran-incarcerating, white-supremacist-befriending, business-f******, reality-f******, countrycidal maniac overlord”.

From Israel, Jewish Agency chair Isaac Herzog tweeted: “Best wishes to @BorisJohnson, a true friend of Israel. I trust you will continue working to make the Jewish community feel safe in the UK in these challenging times. Look forward to your ongoing commitment to fostering ties btw UK & Israel.”

Yair Lapid wrote: “Congratulations and good luck to my good friend @BorisJohnson. I’m sure that as Prime Minister you will continue to strengthen the relationship between our countries.”

Mayor of Tel Aviv Ron Huldai posted a picture of the pair cycling, saying: “I know that you’re a true friend of Israel and trust that you will further enhance the strong bond between the UK and Israel. I would love to host you again in Tel Aviv-Yafo!”

In Washington, Donald Trump tweeted: “Congratulations to Boris Johnson on becoming the new Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. He will be great!”

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