Miliband to visit Israel next week

Miliband to visit Israel next week

This will be Miliband's first visit to Israel as Leader of the Opposition
This will be Miliband's first visit to Israel as Leader of the Opposition
Ed Miliband
Ed Miliband will make his first visit to Israel as Leader of the Opposition

Ed Miliband is expected to travel to Israel next week for the first time since becoming Leader of the Opposition.

The Labour chief and shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander will meet senior Israeli politicians and visit Yad Vashem before heading to the territories for talks with leading Palestinian figures.

Labour Friends of Israel’s Jennifer Gerber said: “Ed is looking forward to discussing ways to increase UK Israel bilateral relations, and also strengthen ties between our party and the Israeli Labour Party. He sees this trip as an opportunity to reconfirm his steadfast support of Israel.”

The Board of Deputies described the three-day visit as an opportunity to deepen trade, culture and security ties and expressed hope the trip, “at a delicate moment”, would “promote peace, security, prosperity and equality for Israelis, Palestinians and the wider Middle East”.

Addressing the CST’s annual dinner last month, the Labour leader reiterated his gratitude to Israel for providing refuge to his grandmother after the Shoah and said boycotts of the state were part of the problem rather than the solution. He also looked forward to what he said would be a “special moment” in visiting Israel.

Dr Toby Greene, director of research at BICOM, said: “I expect Ed Miliband would be keen to show his credentials as a leader ready to play a role on the world stage, and in particular his commitment to the Israel-Palestinian peace process and two-state solution.”

“The agenda would likely seek to affirm his commitment to Britain’s bilateral relations with Israel, and its on-going security and legitimacy, while also showing his commitment to the Palestinian national cause. At the same time, visiting Israel has added significance for Miliband given his family history.”

The trip comes just one month after David Cameron was in the region for a visit widely hailed as a great success.

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