Richard Pater
Richard Pater

Whoever the prime minister is, UK-Israel ties will become stronger

View over the Israeli coast from an RAF plane which took part in a flyover over Tel Aviv to mark Israel's 70th birthday Credit: @UKinIsrael on Twitter via Jewish News
View over the Israeli coast from an RAF plane which took part in a flyover over Tel Aviv to mark Israel's 70th birthday Credit: @UKinIsrael on Twitter via Jewish News

The result is still too close to callbut we should be reassured of one thing: whoever forms the next government in Jerusalem will be welcome in London — when it is safe to travel.

Both countries remain heavily invested in the mutually beneficial bilateral relationship, be it trade, a vibrant scientific and academic cooperation and excellent security ties.    

Before coronavirus hit, UK-Israel trade was booming at more than £5bn a year. Despite the pandemic there was even a small increase last year.     

As the two countries lead the world in vaccinations, Health Secretary Matt Hancock and his counterpart Yuli Edelstein have maintained regular contact, sharing best practices, including the digitalisation of the NHS.  

In terms of security ties, at the end of last year the UK’s Chief of Defence Staff Nicholas Carter and the IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi signed an agreement to formalise and enhance defence ties.

Most of the agreement is highly classified, but the cooperation includes defence medical training, organisational design and concepts, and defence education. 

Just last week Air Chief Marshal Mike Wigston visited Israel and met his Israeli counterpart further signifying the strength of the strategic partnership and close relations between the Israeli Air Force and the RAF.    

Top of their shared agenda is Iran, and the continued threat an incoming Israel government will face.

While Israel feels the Iranian threat far more acutely due to its relative geographic proximity, it shares with Britain a desire to prevent Iran achieving a nuclear capability, to curb its advanced ballistic missile programme and to counter Iranian proxies, particularly in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Yemen and the shipping lanes of the Gulf.  

These ties are bound to endure and even grow, whoever is the next prime minister of Israel.    

About the Author
Richard is a political analyst and the Director of BICOM in Israel (Britain Israel Communications and Research Centre)
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