UK Labour leader Miliband to visit Israel

British opposition head to meet with Israeli, Palestinian officials during one of first major foreign trips since Jewish politician took post in 2010.

April 7, 2014 15:58
1 minute read.
Britain's leader of the opposition Labour party Ed Miliband

Britain's leader of the opposition Labour party Ed Miliband. (photo credit: REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth)


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UK Labor leader Ed Miliband is scheduled to arrive in Israel on Thursday for a three-day trip.

The visit would be one of the first major foreign trips for Miliband, who is Jewish, since he became opposition leader in 2010.

The Labor leader is to meet with Israeli and Palestinian officials, including Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and his Israeli counterpart, opposition leader Isaac Herzog. He is to hold a question-and-answer session with students at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

Miliband, whose father escaped from Belgium to England in 1940 and whose mother hid in a convent in Poland during the Holocaust, also intends to visit Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Authority. He plans to visit relatives in a kibbutz in the North.

Last month, Miliband said at an event for Community Security Trust, a Jewish nongovernmental organization in the UK, that he feels “more part of the Jewish community than at any other time in [his] life,” The Jewish Chronicle reported.

He spoke of a visit to his maternal grandmother Israel as a child, saying he has a debt to the Jewish state for giving her “an incredible sanctuary.”

When asked if he’s a Zionist, Miliband said he considers himself a supporter of Israel, but the next day his office denied that’s a positive answer to the question.

Still, he spoke out against the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign against Israel.

“I think the boycotts of Israel are totally wrong,” Miliband said. “We should have no tolerance for boycotts. I would say that to any trade union leaders who ask me.”

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