Valuable exchange with Israeli counterparts on key developments and events
On 16 November 2020, BGIPU convened a virtual bilateral meeting between UK and Israeli Parliamentarians. The meeting was moderated by Harriett Baldwin MP, Chair of the British Group of the Inter-Parliamentary Union. In attendance from the UK side was: Dame Diana Johnson MP (vice-Chair of both BGIPU and Labour friends of Israel), Lord Sarfraz, Jonathan Djanogly MP, Steve McCabe MP (Chair of Labour friends of Israel) and Bob Blackman MP. From the Israeli Knesset, BGIPU were pleased to welcome Avi Dichter MK (Head of the Knesset Delegation to the Inter-Parliamentary Union), Michal Wunsh MK, Michal Shir Segman MK and Yoray Lahav Hertzanu MK. The bilateral discussion followed a virtual meeting that Ms Baldwin had with her counterpart, Mr Dichter, in mid-September.
The opening remarks were made by Ms Baldwin who warmly welcomed the Israeli MKs to the meeting. Mr Dichter thanked her for convening the discussion and spoke about the positive earthquake for change in the Middle East regarding the renewed diplomatic relations between Israel and the UAE, Bahrain and Sudan. He expressed hope that other countries would follow suit and that there would be improved relationships and peace with all Middle Eastern states. The Israeli Delegation expressed their congratulations to the President Elect, Joe Biden, and his Vice President, Kamala Harris.
The discussion moved on to talk regarding the COVID19 vaccine and the hope that this development has brought with it. Both Israel and the UK have been developing their own vaccines and significant progress is being made. Both sides noted the importance of vaccinating the most vulnerable in society first. This will allow the economies to open and for people to start living their lives normally once more.
Throughout the exchange, parliamentarians on both sides spoke of the importance of collaboration during a time of great upheaval. It was clear that communication is vital for overcoming challenges and moving forwards and the IPU remains a vital institution to facilitate this. Participants from both Israel and the UK agreed on the importance of continuing to enhance the bilateral relationship and hoped that when international travel is possible there will be a physical delegation to visit each other’s parliament.