Two separate delegations of British parliamentarians are visiting Israel this week to strengthen ties between the two countries.
Labour Party frontbenchers are taking part in a hi-tech fact-finding mission to learn from Israel’s hi-tech success, and to call for deeper economic relations with Israel, and closer economic ties between Israelis and Palestinians. The visit includes meetings with senior representatives of the hi-tech sector and leading businesses in Israel, as well as government representatives and politicians. Delegates will also meet Palestinian representatives of Ramallah’s growing hi-tech communications industry.
Mission participants include Shadow Secretaries of State for Work & Pensions and Business & Innovation, Liam Byrne and Chuka Umunna. Speaking ahead of the visit, Chuka Umunna MP said, “The Israeli high-tech sector is a world leader. I am very much looking forward to talking to leading businesses in the sector, seeing what they are doing at first hand…I’m keen to see how this can be used in the development of our thinking on industrial strategy and support for our high-tech sector in the UK.”
Meanwhile, nine members of the all-parliamentary Lords and Commons Cricket Club are in Israel to explore co-existence through sport. The MPs, most of whom belong to the Conservative Party, are visiting various cricket workshops and projects which include both Jewish and Arab children. They are also scheduled to play matches against teams from the Israel cricket league. The visit also includes private meetings with Israeli leaders and a visit to Sderot to assess the security situation.
Conservative Party MP Nigel Adams, who is one of the driving forces behind the visit said, “We’ve just witnessed a fantastic summer of sport in our country, and I think it’s important for my colleagues to witness how sport in Israel can help break down barriers.”