The new Israeli government will welcome David Cameron’s renewal of his lease on 10 Downing Street. Cameron has exceeded expectations with his warmth for Israel, illustrated by a remarkable speech to the Knesset in March 2014 and his backing for Israel during Operation Protective Edge a few months later.
Aided in no small part by Ambassador Matthew Gould – soon to leave Tel Aviv after an extraordinary five-year stint – bilateral trade and cooperation have continued to rise.
Cameron has also shown he gets concerns on delegitimisation, saying in a recent interview: “As well as the new threat of extremist Islamism there has been an insidious, creeping attempt to delegitimise the state of Israel, which spills over often into anti-Semitism.”
Even better for Israel, the Liberal Democrats, who attempted to hijack coalition foreign policy last summer by threatening an arms embargo on Israel, are out of the picture.
This result, therefore, is clearly the best Netanyahu could have hoped for. But it’s not all going to be roses. Britain and Israel have different perspectives on the Iran nuclear deal. The UK has played an important role in sanctions and enjoys a constructive dialogue with Israel over Iran, but seems content to back the US on a deal most Israelis consider a catastrophic capitulation.
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