Despite Gaza war, UK-Israel trade up 28%
Boycott? What boycott?
Azrieli Centre, Tel Aviv
Trade between the UK and Israel is at a record high, in spite of concerted efforts by campaigners to push for an Israel boycott during the Gaza conflict this summer.
At a time when anti-Israel campaigning and activity has been at a peak, figures released by the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics show that bilateral trade between January and August increased by 28 per cent on the same period last year.
Trade between the two countries is now worth a record £2.5 billion.
Exports from Israel to the UK have risen by over 38 per cent to £1.6 billion.
The value of UK exports to Israel has risen over 14 per cent to £957 million.
£2.5 bn Current value of trade between UK and Israel
£1.6 bn Current value of Israeli exports to the UK
38% Rise in Israeli exports to the UK during first eight months of 2014
£957 m Current value of UK exports to Israel
The Palestine Solidarity Campaign had specifically targeted a variety of companies over their links with Israel.
They included cosmetics firm Ahava; security company G4S; drinks firm SodaStream, which shut its EcoStream shop in Brighton in July; computer company Hewlett Packard and waste management firm Veolia.
Nathan Tsror, the minister of economy and trade at the Israeli embassy in London, said: "Once again, the latest trade figures underline the strong business ties that exist between Israel and the UK. This relationship brings great benefit to both countries and as such is of great value."
So far this year, there have been 37 mergers, acquisitions and IPOs (sale of company stock by a private company to the public) involving either British and Israeli companies or an Israeli firm being floated in the UK.
Hugo Bieber, chief executive of UK Israel Business, said he was "excited" by the latest figures, "both in terms of bilateral trade and also in the flourishing M&A, investment and IPO numbers. We have seen successful IPOs of Israeli businesses on the London Stock Exchange this year and we see a strong pipeline of further businesses looking to list in London."
Vivian Wineman, president of the Board of Deputies, said: “This is a wonderful piece of news that shows that attempts by the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement to discredit Israel are failing. We are all better off – particularly Israelis and Palestinians – when there is strong trade between the UK and Israel, because it leads to tremendous economic growth, innovation and, most crucially, more jobs for all.”
This month, the embassy will run networking events and conferences to boost business ties in the security, water, energy and medical technology sectors. Avi Hasson, Israel's chief scientist, will be in London for meetings with government and industry next month.
The UK is Israel's largest export market after the US.