A golden, lucky age

The passing of Baroness Thatcher reminds us of the most important single fact about Anglo-Israeli relations in the past five decades: just how lucky we have been.

From Margaret Thatcher, through Tony Blair and then Gordon Brown, we have had three Prime Ministers with a visceral, deeply felt sympathy for Israel. Neither John Major nor David Cameron have had quite the same instinctive identity with Israel, but even they have, in office, been admirable in their support.

There have, of course, been times when the government has been critical of the Israelis, as this week's piece by the British Ambassador marking the Jewish state's 65 anniversary illustrates. Indeed, our analysis of Baroness Thatcher's time as PM shows that her own position was more nuanced than it is often portrayed. But when it comes to the big picture, Baroness Thatcher's arrival in Downing Street heralded a golden period for relations between the UK and Israel.

Depressing as the news sometimes is, with boycott threats and attacks on Israel's legitimacy, and disappointed as we may be by some British government decisions, we need always to put that in context and remember the bigger picture.

    Last updated: 4:58pm, April 11 2013