Foreign Secretary Rt. Hon. Boris Johnson MP hailed the “enduring friendship” between the UK and Israel and celebrated its achievements, following his official visit to the country this week, in an exclusive article for the Jewish News.
Mr Johnson wrote: “I never forget the pride felt by many British Jews in Israel’s achievements. I share that emotion myself. Indeed I have only to enter my office to see the place where one chapter of that story began”.
The Foreign Secretary opened the article by highlighting the Government’s celebrations to mark the centenary of the Balfour Declaration, and “Britain’s role in helping fulfil the vision of a ‘national home for the Jewish people’”. He said: “I’ve taken this message of enduring friendship to Israel this week”.
The Foreign Secretary emphasised the extent of Israel’s achievements for a country “barely the size of Wales”, drawing on Israel’s rank in the Global Innovation Index in 2016 being four places higher than China as testimony to the Jewish State being “one of the most innovative and technologically advanced nations in the world”.
He said: “There is simply no other country of Israel’s size or population that can match its record of invention and discovery”.
Mr Johnson praised UK-Israel science partnership, stating: “It’s fantastic that British and Israeli scientists and entrepreneurs are working together hand-in-hand”. The Foreign Secretary also celebrated Britain’s position as Israel’s second biggest trading partner, and the largest destination for Israeli investment in Europe.
He highlighted the strength of Israel’s democracy, applauding “the tolerance and openness of the only free society in the Middle East”. In reference to those who seek to delegitimise Israel, Mr Johnson strongly emphasised: “This Government has no time for anyone who would try to obstruct the burgeoning flow of trade between Israel”.
The Foreign Secretary continued: “We abhor those who use the language of sanctions and boycotts of question Israel’s legitimacy”.
Firmly supporting Israel’s right to defence its citizens against the threat of terror, the Foreign Secretary affirmed: “if Israel comes under attack, Britain will stand by its right to self-defence”.
He also restated the UK’s foreign policy commitments to a two-state solution and opposition to Israeli settlement building.
Click here to read the Foreign Secretary’s article in full.