Israeli leaders gather in London for UK-Israel strategic conference


One of the highest profile gatherings in recent years of Israeli political leaders in the UK will take place today at the “UK-Israel Shared Strategic Challenges Conference.”

The forum in Westminster will feature Israel’s Interior Minister Silvan Shalom, who was recently appointed to head Israel’s delegation in any future peace talks. Israel’s opposition leader Isaac Herzog and Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid, a former-Finance Minister will also address the conference, which will be attended by an invited audience of politicians, government officials, journalists, NGO and union officials. Middle East Minister Tobias Ellwood will also speak at today’s inaugural event.

Other prominent speakers include Israel’s Ambassadors to the UK and United Nations respectively, Daniel Taub and Ron Prosor, plus Martin Indyk, the United States’s envoy to the most recent round of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks which ended last year.

Topics covered during the conference will include the peace process, Iran’s nuclear development, radicalisation and the rise of Islamic state. The strategic challenges posed by these issues will be discussed in the context of the recent elections held in both Israel and the UK.

The event has been organised by BICOM and the Jewish News. Ahead of the conference, Richard Pater, acting chief executive of BICOM, said “This unparalleled gathering will provide unique opportunities for discussion on the challenges facing the UK and Israel today.” Jewish News editor Richard Ferrer commented, “This month is a pivotal time. New governments in Israel and the UK are starting to grapple with the shared imperative of enhancing bilateral collaboration, while contending with widening gaps on the diplomatic process between Israel and the Palestinians.”

The conference is being held with the participation of the World Jewish Congress, whose long-time president Ronald Lauder will introduce some of the high-profile panellists. It is also being held with the participation of Israel’s Channel 10 and US-based publication, The Algemeiner.