Theresa May calls Israel ‘an old friend’ in article for Jewish state’s 70th
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Theresa May calls Israel ‘an old friend’ in article for Jewish state’s 70th

Prime Minister contributes to Conservative Friends of Israel's magazine, paying tribute seven decades after the country's foundation

Prime Minister Theresa May at the UJIA Appeal charity dinner , 2018. Photo credit: Peter Nicholls/PA Wire
Prime Minister Theresa May at the UJIA Appeal charity dinner , 2018. Photo credit: Peter Nicholls/PA Wire

Theresa May has described Israel as “an old friend” in an article submitted for a magazine published by Conservative Friends of Israel marking 70 years since the founding of the state.

Writing for ‘Informed’ magazine, the prime minister heralded “record levels” of bilateral trade, saying: “As the UK looks to embrace the opportunities that will exist after Brexit, I want to strengthen our trading relationship with old friends like Israel even further.”

May said 2018 was a “special year for all of us who count ourselves as friends of Israel”, adding that “it has had a particular meaning for us here in the UK, where we are proud of our role in helping to create a homeland for the Jewish people”.

Also writing in the magazine was Israeli Ambassador Mark Regev, who highlighted a difference of opinion between Israeli and British authorities over the Iran nuclear deal, which the UK continues to support.

He said Benjamin Netanyahu’s unveiling of old Iranian nuclear records in April made the accord “untenable,” adding: “It remains my hope that the UK will join the US and Israel in increasing pressure on the ayatollahs until the regime ceases its aggressive and destabilising behaviour.”

May said the UK was “proud to stand side-by-side with Israel as an ally with mutual interests, and a close friend with shared values”, adding that Prince William’s visit earlier this year shows that the relationship goes “from strength to strength”.

Published on the eve of the Conservative Party conference, other senior Tory contributors included Communities Secretary James Brokenshire, who said he was “proud” to lead on plans to develop a national Holocaust memorial, and Universities Minister Sam Gyimah, who visited Israel in May, describing Israel as “an engine room of ideas”.

Increasing bilateral trade will be a Conservative priority this parliament, and International Trade Secretary Liam Fox has set up a UK-Israel Trade Working Group to “identify and remove barriers to trade between our two countries”.

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