Education Secretary Michael Gove spoke to hundreds of JC readers at a special event in London last night.
In a wide-ranging discussion with former JC editor Ned Temko, Mr Gove revealed his thoughts on issues including faith schools, the teaching of evolution and antisemitism on university campuses.
As part of the session he spent more than an hour answering audience questions at the JW3 Jewish community centre in north London.
Mr Gove said he had previously discussed criticism of Israel with former Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair, and praised opposition figures including Gordon Brown and Ed Balls for the pro-Zionist beliefs.
After outlining his opposition to boycotts of Israel he said: "Why shouldn’t you be a Zionist? It’s common sense."
On the government's pledge to continue funding security at Jewish schools, Mr Gove said: "I made a promise before the election to support the Community Security Trust and pay for the security costs in schools.
"There is now more capable stewarding at Jewish schools than there has ever been before and it’s for reasons that don’t have to be spelt out. It’s tragic.
"We’ve provided that money and whatever is needed we will provide."
Mr Gove also met a large gathering of head teachers before the main discussion with Mr Temko.