British Prime Minister Theresa May leaves after making a statement, at Downing Street in London, Britain, May 24, 2019..
(photo credit: REUTERS / HANNAH MCKAY)
British Jews praised outgoing UK Prime Minister Theresa May for her pro-Jewish and pro-Israel stances during her tenure in office, particularly her stances against antisemitism and the Hezbollah terror group.
Even before she entered 10 Downing Street in 2016, May was known as a friend of the Jews.
We will never forget Mrs. “May’s powerful speech to the Board of Deputies following the terrorist massacres in Paris in 2015, when she said ‘without its Jews, Britain would not be Britain’ and held up a sign saying “Je suis Juif,” Board of Deputies of British Jews President Marie van der Zyl said on Friday. “We will always appreciate her friendship and support.”
She spoke after May announced her resignation Friday. Elections will now be held within the ruling Conservative Party for a leader to replace her.
Van der Zyl recalled the hallmarks of May’s time in office with regard to the country’s strong relationship with Israel including the British government’s adoption of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of antisemitism.
In November 2017, May marked “with pride,” van der Zyl said, the centenary to the Balfour Declaration, which recognized the Jewish right to a homeland on its historical territory.
Under her tenure, Hezbollah was banned as a terrorist organization, van der Zyl said.
Great Britain also took a stronger stand against anti-Israel bias at the UN Human Rights Council.
She “oversaw the first ever official visit to Israel by a member of the royal family – a landmark moment in our shared history,” said James Gurd, executive director of Conservative Friends of Israel.
He added that May supported an increase in Israeli-British trade, which now stands at $10 billion annually.
Thanks to her efforts, Israel is one of the few countries with which Great Britain has signed a post-Brexit trade deal, van der Zyl said.
May increased security funding to protect Jewish schools, community centers and places of worship.
She also “supported our Jewish schools through resolving issues around Gift Aid” and “drove forward plans for a Holocaust memorial next to the Parliament,” van der Zyl said.
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