Friday, 2 Dec 2022 - 8 of Kislev, 5783

Will Britain move its embassy in Israel from Tela Aviv to Jerusalem ?

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A Downing Street spokesperson said British Prime Minister Liz Truss told Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid about “review of current location.”)

British Prime Minister Liz Truss told Israeli counterpart Yair Lapid that she is considering moving the British embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

A Downing Street spokesperson said she had reaffirmed her leadership campaign pledge to review the embassy’s location when she met Lapid in New York this week on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly.

Truss, who was the Foreign Minister until Sept. 6, pledged during the Conservative Party leadership contest in August to review moving the embassy, adding that she was aware of “the importance and sensitivity” that surrounded the embassy’s location.

Lapid tweeted praise to Truss for considering the move, adding: “We will continue to strengthen the partnership between the countries.”

In 2017, then-US president Donald Trump broke with a longstanding agreement among the international community not to base embassies in Jerusalem until a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict had been reached.

Trump announced that the US would move its embassy to Jerusalem and recognise it as Israel’s capital. In May 2018, the United States opened its embassy in Jerusalem.

In another development, Britain’s Ambassador to Israel Neil Wigan expressed hope that King Charles would visit Israel during his reign.

Speaking to Israel Hayom, Wigan, who was in London for the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II, said that King Charles has a good and warm relationship with the Jewish state. “It’s true that the Queen never visited Israel, but King Charles has visited several times as prince and was received by President Isaac Herzog very cordially,” he said, adding that Prince William also traveled to Israel several years ago. 

“Will Charles visit Israel now as King? We very much hope so, but cannot guarantee that it will happen. He has to decide on his [foreign]visit plans and has an obligation to Commonwealth countries such as Canada and Australia,” said Wigan.

According to Wigan, when then-Prince Charles was in Jerusalem he visited the Israel Museum and “was fascinated by the Dead Sea Scrolls. The subject of the Holocaust is also very important to him, and he has friends who are survivors. I saw how moved he was when he met Auschwitz survivors. I don’t know how deeply the royal family is involved in Israeli politics, but they do have a great interest in Israel in general, so I’m optimistic,” said the UK envoy.

With respect to the political system, Israeli Ambassador to Britain Tzipi Hotovely said in an interview with Israel Hayom that while Queen Elizabeth was not closely familiar with the matter, she did express interest in it.

“She even asked me once why Israel has so many elections, and I had the feeling that she was really interested,” Hotovely said. “She had curiosity and [a]deep commitment to her role. She wasn’t just a symbol, but more than that, which is why people loved her so much.”

Hotovely said that the government in London was the “most pro-Israel it has ever been,” adding: “Britain is today at the forefront of Western countries in voting in favor of Israel at the United Nations. In recent years, there has been a succession of prime ministers who are very friendly to Israel.”

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