Published On: Thu, Jul 14th, 2016

New British PM Theresa May Has History of Strong Support for Israel, Jewish Community

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British Prime Minister Theresa May, who rose to her office on Wednesday after the resignation of David Cameron,  has a long history of support for Israel and other Jewish causes, forecasting continued warm relations between Israel and the United Kingdom.

May served as Home Secretary (responsible for immigration, security, and the justice system) for six years, and showed herself to be “a long-standing friend of Israel and the Jewish community, ” former Israeli Ambassador to the United Kingdom Daniel Taub told The Jerusalem Post. May was a strong supporter of “efforts to deepen British-Israel ties in the area of homeland security, and also very receptive to the concerns of the Jewish community regarding anti-Semitism and violent extremism, ” Taub said.

May has visited Israel once, on an official trip in the summer of 2014 to learn about Israel’s practices in policing, human trafficking, and cyber-security. She spoke there about being moved by her visit to the Yad Vashem Holocaust museum, calling the Holocaust “the worst crime in history.” She also spoke out vociferously against terror after the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teens during her visit.

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May was similarly outspoken after the killings of four Jews by an Islamic militant in a Paris kosher supermarket, decrying anti-Semitism in Europe and being photographed with a “Je sui Juif” placard.

May and her husband had dinner with British Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis at his home on Tuesday night. She maintained her long-scheduled appointment despite the fact that she was due to be installed as prime minister the following day.

“The fact that she did this in the midst of critically important preparations before taking up office is a reflection of her strong desire to keep to her commitments and the esteem in which she holds the British Jewish community, ” Mirvis said before the dinner. He added in a statement after the meal that “Few people are more talented or better qualified to tackle [the country’s] immense challenges.

I recall the speed and the sensitivity with which she reached out to the Jewish community following the terror attacks on Jewish targets in Europe last year. As she made clear then – “Without its Jews, Britain would not be Britain.”

She has proved herself to be a friend and champion of our community and of other faith communities who share her values of tolerance and understanding. I wish her every success as Prime Minister and look forward to building upon our warm relationship over the coming years.

British Jews, long a bipartisan constituency, have decisively broken for the Conservative Party in recent years as the Labour Party continues to be mired in a months-long anti-Semitism scandal.

[Photo: Policy Exchange / flickr]

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