image Photo: Reuters

Israel welcomes British PM Boris Johnson’s victory

Israel welcomes the overwhelming victory of British Prime Minister-elect Boris Johnson, hailing him as a true friend of the Jewish people and a champion of the important relations between London and Jerusalem. The United Kingdom faces pivotal decisions ahead, including a divorce from the European Union known as Brexit.

The Labor party suffered its worst defeat since 1935. Johnson’s victory alleviated Israeli concern over his rival, Labor party Chairman Jeremy Corbyn, who has frequently voiced support for Jerusalem’s enemies including Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas, while often expressing anti-Israel views.

Corbyn’s anti-Israel rhetoric prompted Jerusalem officials to caution against dire implications his potential election could have had on bilateral relations between the two countries. During an interview with Israel’s leading Ynet News agency ahead of the final tally in the British elections, Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely said Corbyn’s candidacy “is very troubling for us.” With respect to Israeli policy against backing candidates in foreign political campaigns, Hotovely said “It is true that we, as a country, cannot say we support this-or-that candidate,” before nevertheless adding that “Corbyn is a real danger to Israel-Britain relations, and I know British Jewry are very worried about this possibility.”

Israeli leaders sent numerous congratulatory messages to Prime Minister-elect Johnson. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu lauded his counterpart’s victory as “historic,”and President Reuven Rivlin voiced confidence that under the leadership of Prime Minister Johnson “the important relationship between the two countries will continue to strengthen, and will together be able to face the challenges of our times on every front.”