Israeli lawmakers have expressed relief over the defeat of UK Labour Party in yesterday’s general election as Britain’s minorities prepare for what is expected to be a tumultuous five years ahead.
The resounding victory of the Tories was met with huge cheers in Tel Aviv. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was one of the first leaders to applaud his British counterpart.
“Congratulations my friend Boris Johnson on your historic victory. This is a great day for the people of Great Britain and for the friendship between us,” tweeted the embattled Prime Minster who is fighting to protect his political legacy with a criminal charge looming.
Netanyahu’s remarks reflected a palpable sigh of relief for Israeli politicians who voiced deep anxieties over a possible Labour government under Jeremy Corbyn on the day of the election.
“This [election] very much troubles us,” Deputy Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely told Ynet TV.
“It is true that we as a country cannot say we support this-or-that candidate, but Corbyn is a real danger to Israel-Britain relations, and I know British Jewry are very worried about this possibility.”
Hotovely, a vocal proponent of a complete annexation of the occupied West Bank also encouraged British Jews to flee to Israel.
“Jews will always have a place in the State of Israel. In other words, they do not have to feel endangered” she said in response to claims that large numbers of British Jews were considering leaving the UK under a Corbyn government.
These concerns nevertheless, were calmed with a Johnson victory.
The British Prime Minster, though, has had his own scandal to contend with. He has come under sharp criticism for making racist and Islamophobic remarks.
His critics say that the status of minorities under this most right-wing of Conservative governments will be gravely threatened. Members of the black, African, Muslim and Asian communities have all expressed anxiety over a majority Tory government.
Concerns over Johnson is fuelled by comments he made during his time as a writer and a politician. He has referred to black people as “piccaninnies” with “watermelon smiles” and argued that Islam has caused the Muslim world to be “literally centuries behind” the West.
Following the Johnson victory one of Britain’s largest Muslim representative bodies, the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), urged the Prime Minister to exercise his power “responsibly for all Britain.”
The group said that “there is a palpable sense of fear amongst Muslim communities around the country” and that Islamophobia was “oven-ready” for government.
Israeli Ministers, however, have been gushing in their praise of Johnson. Foreign Minister Israel Katz said Johnson’s victory is “not just political. It is first and foremost a victory of values.”
Describing the UK as “a close and important friend of Israel” he called for the deepening of partnership between the two countries.
Likud politician Gideon Sa’ar, who last week denounced the EU as “lacking morality” for insisting on the labelling of Israeli goods produced on the illegal settlements, congratulated Johnson and the Conservative Party “on an impressive electoral victory” while also denouncing Labour saying that “under Corbyn, Labour has cosied up to Israel’s enemies and anti-Semites, and his failure will be a great relief to the British Jewish community.”
The victory was greeted by all sides. Labour’s Israeli counterpart, Labor-Gesher, MK Itzik Shmuli tweeted: “I never imagined that I would be so pleased by a Labour defeat.”