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Theresa May Will Be a Formidable PM and a True Friend of Israel

Theresa May has been a firm, consistent friend of the UK Jewish community, committed to their security as Home Secretary, and unafraid to stand up for Israel’s right to defend itself.

After weeks of high political drama triggered by the UK’s historic vote to leave the EU, the Conservative Party has pulled together and Theresa May has emerged as the UK’s next Prime Minister.
Make no mistake, Theresa May will be inheriting an extraordinarily big inbox. The challenges facing the UK following the Brexit vote are significant, but in Theresa May the UK has a leader that is absolutely up to the challenge of delivering on the opportunities now before us.
As the UK’s longest serving Home Secretary in over 50 years, Theresa May has a wealth of political experience in one of the most difficult jobs in British politics. She unquestionably has the skills and know-how to hit the ground running.
What does this mean for Israel and the UK’s Jewish community? The new Prime Minister is certainly well versed on the threats facing the Jewish community in both the UK and around the world. Indeed, Theresa has been a firm and consistent friend of the Jewish community and Israel, and I believe she will continue to stand up for Jews and the Jewish state as Prime Minister.
Theresa May already has a strong relationship with the UK’s Jewish community, having addressed a number of major communal events. She played a prominent role in reassuring the UK’s Jewish community in the immediate aftermath of the horrific Charlie Hebdo and HyperCacher attacks of January 2015.
She asserted that “without its Jews, Britain would not be Britain” and attended a high-profile rally to jointly declare with the community - “Je suis Juif – I am Jewish”.
True to her word, May announced earlier this year that the Government had committed £13.4 million for security measures in the Jewish community – an increase of £2 million from the previous year following a rise in reported anti-Semitic incidents. She stated bluntly:
“No one wants the school where they send their child to need security guards, or have their place of worship be fitted with security alarms and blast-resistant glass. But until that changes, the government is clear — we will stand by the Jewish community”.
Theresa first visited Israel as Home Secretary in June 2014 and she has spoken publicly about how moved she was by the tragic discovery of the three Israeli teenagers murdered by Hamas at that time.
Citing that “there is no reason, belief, or cause that can justify the abduction and killing of innocent civilians”, Theresa stressed that “Britain stands with Israel as its people mourn the loss of their boys”.
She added that it was “a sad reminder that the Arab/Israeli conflict is not just an abstract debate argued over the pages of Western newspapers and television screens”. These were heartfelt words from a politician renowned for her honesty.
Her visit to Israel also played a key role in shaping the UK’s Modern Slavery Act of which she has expressed great pride. It was the first law of its kind in Europe, and Theresa was said to have learnt a great deal from the experiences of Israel, the first country in the world to pass anti-trafficking legislation.
At an event hosted by Conservative Friends of Israel in September 2014, after Operation Protective Edge, May aligned the UK with Israel:
“No democratic government could, in the face of such danger, do anything but maintain a strong defence and security capability and be prepared to deploy it if necessary. That is why I – and the whole British Government – will always defend Israel’s right to defend itself”. By her own recognition, “Israel faces enemies intent on its very destruction”.
David Cameron will be rightly remembered as one of Israel’s greatest friends on the international stage. His support was genuine and steadfast even in the most difficult of times. The bilateral relationship is stronger than it has ever been.
His successor is every bit as capable. I’ve no doubt that Theresa will prove a formidable Prime Minister and a true friend of Israel.
Mike Freer is the UK Member of Parliament for Finchley & Golders Green. He is an officer of Conservative Friends of Israel and Parliamentary Aide to the Leader of the Commons. He resigned from a previous government position to vote against the Labour Party's request to recognize a Palestinian State. Follow him on Twitter: @mikefreermp

Mike Freer
Haaretz Contributor

read more: http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.730343Schermata 2016 07 12 alle 23.03.19

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Temple Mount temporarily closed to Jewish visitors after clashes with police

The Temple Mount was temporarily closed to Jewish visitors on Wednesday at the order of Jerusalem District Commander Yoram Halevy after Jews broke visitation rules at the holy site, police said. The Jewish visitors were expelled from the compound for bringing sacred books to the Mount and trying to pray there. After one of the individuals was cautioned, another took out a holy book, and the group was expelled. Meanwhile, renewed clashes erupted between protesters and Israeli security forces near the Lion's Gate in the Old City, where police used stun grenades against the demonstrators. A regular dynamic has developed involving clashes between Palestinians and Israel Police over the past several days near the Lion's Gate. Dozens of Palestinians are present at the site on a regular basis, urging devotion to the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount and condemning Israel. During Muslim prayer times, particularly the midday and nighttime prayers, hundreds and sometimes even thousands have been gathering there.

There have been outbreaks of violence during these periods, including stone-throwing or physical confrontations with the police. In most of these incidents, the police have been using stun grenades and sponge-tipped bullets to disperse the crowds. In a number of cases, journalists in the area have also suffered violence at the hands of the police. On Tuesday, Hassan Shaalan, a reporter for the Ynet news website, was struck by a policeman even after he identified himself as a member of the press. A group of Jerusalem-based journalists released a statement of condemnation over the incident and called on the police to permit reporters to do their jobs. The Jerusalem Police responded: "This involved an incident that took place in the course of violent disturbances of the peace that occurred in Jerusalem while the police were acting to remove the demonstrators from the street after some of them refused to vacate. The forces working on the scene are under constant threat to their lives. http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.802141

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