Three Conservative parliamentarians visited Israel with CFI this week for the annual International Institute for Strategic Leadership Dialogue, which brings together legislators, business leaders and opinion formers from across the political spectrum.
The group included CFI Parliamentary Chairman (Lords) Rt. Hon. Lord Pickles, and CFI Vice-Chairmen Andrew Percy MP and John Howell OBE MP.
The objective of the annual dialogue is for leaders from the UK, Israel and Australia to get together in a private, non-partisan setting to discuss issues of strategic relevance.
The dialogue consisted of discussions with Israeli parliamentarians and officials, meetings with local technology start-ups, and symposia on the future of the Middle East.
In Jerusalem, the delegation visited Israel’s national emergency service Magen David Adom, to learn about their groundbreaking medical emergency smartphone application and impressive dispatch centre. Lord Pickles said: “MDA is Israel at its best. Peaceful coexistence, pioneering tech, volunteerism, and a profound respect for the value of every life. Many exciting opportunities for collaboration and exchange of ideas between MDA and the NHS for the betterment of our peoples”.
The group also had a powerful visit to MATI – the Jerusalem Business Development Center, in East Jerusalem to learn about the work they do to support Palestinian entrepreneurs start and expand businesses. Over 5,000 people have been supported and $30 million invested in East Jerusalem.
While on the delegation, CFI Parliamentary Chairman (Lords) Rt. Hon. Lord Pickles was interviewed by i24NEWS about Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s historic election win, importance of fighting antisemitism and the Government’s plan to stop public bodies boycotting Israel.
He said: “I don’t think we should anyway under estimate the importance of the issue of antisemitism in the election. British people are basically decent people and the way in which Jews were made to feel uncomfortable in their own country and the way in which Jewish people were genuinely frightened, I think resonated with British people who frankly don’t like that kind of thing. If we were to lose our Jewish neighbours then Britain will be a lesser place”.
Lord Pickles pointed out that the Government has taken important steps to combat antisemitism: “We ensure that every single antisemitic crime is reported separately, we publish the statistics at least once a year and we ensure that our Jewish community feels safe through ensuring that there is security at schools, security at Jewish events”. He added: “Above all it is a about recognising that a fundamental part of the British identity is a Jewish identity and that Jewish life enriches our life. And we will ensure those who commit antisemitic crimes will be punished”.