Labour and Conservative MPs toured Israel this week, as more than 100 rockets rained down on Israeli towns from Gaza.
Labour parliamentarians met Avi Gabbay, leader of Israel’s Labor Party, who last month cut ties to Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, accusing him of “hostility” towards Britain’s Jews.
The group, which included Shadow Communities Secretary Andrew Gwynne MP, also met Palestinian Authority Minister Amal Jadou in Ramallah, in a trip organised by lobby group Labour Friends of Israel (LFI).
“We have seen for ourselves over the last two days the very real security challenges facing Israel,” said LFI chair Joan Ryan.
“As ever, it was a pleasure to meet with our friends from our sister party, the Israeli Labor party, and reaffirm our support for the important work they are doing in working towards a peaceful two-state solution.”
Meanwhile, senior Tories including former Chief Whip Mark Harper and former International Trade Minister Mark Garnier opened the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange this week, as part of a new-style trade delegation to Israel.
In the first-of-its-kind bilateral trade trip, organised by Conservative Friends of Israel, the MPs visited Israeli companies working in technology, energy, cyber security, medical science, agricultural technology (agri-tech) and financial technology (fin-tech), and met politicians and business people.
On the itinerary was a day in the southern city of Be’er-Sheva, where they toured Gav Yam Advanced Technologies Park, a joint initiative between the local municipality and Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.
Among the firms they met in Tel Aviv were Asserson Law, which in April successfully battled a London coroner’s “cab-rank rule” for the release of bodies for burial, and Hetz Ventures, the first British fund exclusively targeting Israeli start-ups, led in part by Lord (Andrew) Feldman, the former chairman of the Conservative Party.
“It is an honour to be leading a group of distinguished parliamentarians,” said Harper. “Brexit presents an enormous opportunity to increase our trade throughout the world, and we’re excited to be looking at the opportunities within Israel.”