Education Secretary Michael Gove said he had fulfilled a long-held ambition after visiting Israel for the first time.
During the trip, which took place last week, he signed a deal with Israeli counterparts to strengthen education links, a move he said was evidence of the increasingly strong bilateral relationship.
Mr Gove has repeatedly stated his commitment to Zionism but had never travelled to the country.
After returning from the visit, he told the JC this week: “I have longed to go to Israel for many years. It was especially fascinating to visit Israeli schools and understand different, successful approaches to the same challenges we face in England.”
He signed a five-year agreement with Israeli education minister Shai Piron to increase co-operation on English language training. It will see the British Council train thousands of Israeli teachers to use the same techniques applied in classrooms in this country.
Mr Gove said the deal would “go a long way to contribute to quality English teaching in Israel. More qualified teachers means more Israeli children leaving school able to understand English”.
He praised the Teach First scheme, which places teachers in under-performing schools, and is now operating in Israel. Mr Gove said Israel could in turn help Britain develop hi-tech and science industries here.
The Education Secretary visited schools in Tel Aviv and Lod, and met companies working with the UK-Israel Tech Hub backed by British Ambassador to Israel Matthew Gould.