Israeli politicians and Jewish leaders hailed British Prime Minister David Cameron on Friday after he announced his intention to resign after the UK voted in a referendum to leave the European Union, a move that Cameron campaigned against.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement Friday that Cameron was a “respected leader and a true friend of Israel and the Jewish people.” Netanyahu noted that “the security, economic and technological cooperation between the United Kingdom and Israel has greatly expanded” during Cameron’s tenure, adding that “together we laid a strong foundation for continued cooperation.”
Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan called Cameron a “real gentleman” who showed a “profound friendship toward Israel.” Erdan credited Cameron with leading “an important decision against the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement.” (In February, Britain banned local councils from boycotting Israel.)
PM: Throughout @David_Cameron's premiership, the security, economic & technological cooperation between the UK & Israel has greatly expanded
— Ofir Gendelman (@ofirgendelman) June 24, 2016
“The Jewish community and Israel should be very sad today, but also deeply grateful to David Cameron who has been and is an outstanding friend,” Lord Stuart Polak, a member of the House of Lords and the honorary president of Conservative Friends of Israel (CFI), told The Jewish Chronicle.
The leadership of Conservative Friends of Israel added in a statement that Cameron “has been resolute in the fight against antisemitism and has ensured the UK will have a national memorial to the Holocaust and a world-class learning centre.”
Time and again, the PM stood firmly by Israel’s side, delivering a landmark speech on the floor of the Knesset. He has overseen record levels of UK-Israel trade, rejected the divisive BDS movement, stopped politically-motivated councils boycotting Israel, amended universal jurisdiction legislation, and led the EU-wide proscription of Hizbollah’s military wing. These are remarkable achievements.
CFI would like to sincerely thank the Prime Minister for his genuine friendship and for everything he has done to strengthen the relationship between Israel and the United Kingdom.
“We want to extend our community’s heartfelt gratitude to Prime Minister David Cameron for his service of the country and his friendship to our community,” said Gillian Merro, the chief executive of the Board of Deputies, the UK Jewish community’s main representative body. “His legacy will be as someone who did not run away from difficult questions, but put them to the British people to decide.”
In a historic speech before the Knesset two years ago, Cameron spoke of the enduring friendship between Britain and Israel on many levels. “I will always stand up for the right of Israel to defend its citizens,” he said, “a right enshrined in international law, in natural justice and fundamental morality, and in decades of common endeavour between Israel and her allies.”
[Photo: Avi Ohayan / GPO ]