UK Ambassador to Israel: We have a big appetite for Israeli military tech

Speaking at the Jerusalem Post London Conference, the ambassador, Neil Wigan, also noted a formal military-to-military cooperation agreement signed by the countries in December 2020.

 UK Ambassador to Israel Neil Wigan and Oren Marmorstein, Deupty Ambassador of Israel to the UK at the Jerusalem Post London Conference, March 31, 2022.  (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
UK Ambassador to Israel Neil Wigan and Oren Marmorstein, Deupty Ambassador of Israel to the UK at the Jerusalem Post London Conference, March 31, 2022.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

England has a “big appetite” for Israel’s military technology, UK Ambassador to Israel Neil Wigan said Thursday at The Jerusalem Post Conference in London.

“There is a constant flow of people coming and going,” he said. “We had a meeting this morning with the [UK] home secretary and [Interior Minister] Ayelet Shaked, talking about close cooperation in counterterrorism, security and other areas” to save lives.

“I think it is a fit,” he added. “Israeli use of technology and how to do security and military operations, we are very interested in this. Our armed forces has a big appetite to learn and profit from that.”

For more panels and interviews from The Jerusalem Post London Conference, click here >>

Wigan said England “wants to make stuff [even] more concrete… really enduring” in security cooperation and other areas.

He also noted a formal military-to-military cooperation agreement signed by the countries in December 2020.

 NORTHERN COMMAND: Miniature start-up nation within the IDF. (credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON UNIT) NORTHERN COMMAND: Miniature start-up nation within the IDF. (credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON UNIT)

Wigan talked about how much the relations between the countries have improved to new levels since he was last involved in those relations from 2002-2006.

“During COVID, there was health cooperation about how to deal with COVID,” he said. “We learned from each other’s lessons and policies. There is a new [joint] science fund and research and development fund. These are new areas” of cooperation.

Moreover, “the private sector is already well ahead of the governments,” Wigan said. “We are trying to catch up… There are already 50 Israeli start-ups in the UK. We want them to see the UK as the natural place for them to come and to expand into Europe and elsewhere.”

Israeli Deputy Ambassador to the UK Oren Marmorstein said: “The state of the relationship between Israel and the UK is in the golden era. It cannot be better. First and foremost, the connection starts with shared values.”

Both countries are freedom-loving democracies, which is “the glue that keeps us together… this is the soul of the relationship,” he said.

Asked about some of Israel’s and England’s differences in addressing security challenges presented by Iran, both officials diplomatically focused on the message that they have common goals of pushing back against Iranian aggression, even if they have different tactical approaches.

The UK is part of the EU-3, seeking to renew the 2015 JCPOA Iran nuclear deal, which Israel views as having too many holes.

But both countries agree on trying to prevent the Islamic Republic from getting a nuclear weapon, and they seek to reduce other forms of aggression by Tehran.