The British Royal Navy assault ship HMS Bulwark arrived in Haifa Port on Tuesday for a short visit before sailing back to the Britain, as part of a strengthening defence relationship between the UK and Israel.
The UK’s Ambassador to Israel, H.E. David Quarrey, and Israel’s Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman attended a reception to mark the docking of the war ship.
An Aston Martin and a Land Rover were on display port-side in full view of arriving guests. Ambassador Quarrey said: “I am delighted that HMS Bulwark has been able to call in at Israel during their current deployment. As part of a strengthening defence relationship with Israel, this visit is evidence of the UK’s strong commitment to security in the region”.
Until the port visit of the destroyer HMS Defender to Eilat in June 2016, the last major warship to visit Israel was HMS St Albans in 2009.
Captain of HMS Bulwark James Parkin said: “Most of the 560 people on board my ship have never visited Israel before, and there is a palpable sense of excitement on board about exploring this vibrant and fascinating city”.
While in Haifa, the ship’s company met with their Israeli counterparts to exchange views, challenge the “Israeli Barbarians” rugby team to a match, watch Beer Sheva vs Inter Milan in the Europa league, and visit historic sites in Israel.