New Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been praised for his “long history of standing shoulder to shoulder with Israel and the Jewish community,” in a statement by the Conservative Friends of Israel group.
Mr Johnson was announced as the new PM at an event at London’s Queen Elizabeth Centre on Tuesday after easily beating leadership challenger Jeremy Hunt, securing 66 per cent of Tory members' vote.
CFI chairmen Stephen Crabb MP and Lord Pickles, and Honorary President Lord Polak said in a statement: “From his refusal to boycott Israeli goods in his time as Mayor of London through to his instrumental role as Foreign Secretary in both the landmark Balfour Declaration celebrations and the first-ever official Royal visit to Israel, Boris has a long history of standing shoulder to shoulder with Israel and the Jewish community.
“Mr Johnson continued to display his resolute support throughout the Leadership Contest with a memorable hustings event with CFI and an excellent letter penned to CFI’s supporters reiterating his deep support for Israel and pledging to be a champion for Jews in Britain and around the world’.”
The Board of Deputies also issued a statement wishing Mr Johnson “every success as Prime Minster at this critical time for our country.”
The Board added they had enjoyed a “long and positive relationship” with him as both Mayor of London and Foreign Secretary.
But the JC also spoke with a number of MPs who were fearful that by voting for Boris as PM, the Conservative Party had only strengthened the hand of Jeremy Corbyn.
One said: “This will succeed in persuading more so-called moderate Labour MPs to rally around their leader like never before.
“Wait and see, Boris will be portrayed as this far-right maniac, while Corbyn will be hailed as the lesser evil of two very poor options.”
Mr Johnson won the leadership contest by a convincing margin of 92,153 votes to 46,656. Turnout was 87.4 per cent among 159,320 party members.
In his speech, he reminded the audience of his campaign slogan of “Deliver Brexit, unite the country and defeat Jeremy Corbyn.”
He used the word "dude" at one point, pointing out that this spelled “dud” and that the final e stood for – “energise”.
He said: “I say to all the doubters: dude, we are going to energise the country!”
Former PM Theresa May immediately offered her congratulations, tweeting: “We now need to work together to deliver a Brexit that works for the whole UK and to keep Jeremy Corbyn out of government. You will have my full support from the back benches.”
Jeremy Corbyn reacted to the news of Mr Johnson's victory by tweeting that he had "won the support of fewer than 100,000 unrepresentative Conservative Party members", but "hasn't won the support of our country".
Chancellor Philip Hammond and Justice Secretary David Gauke had already said they would resign if Mr Johnson became PM, while Sir Aaln Duncan quit as Foreign Office minister on Monday along with Education Minister Anne Milton.
Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu tweeted "heartfelt congratulations from Jerusalem" - a veiled reference to Britain's refusal to relocate its embassy from Tel Aviv.
Heartfelt congratulations from Jerusalem, @BorisJohnson. Looking forward to working closely together, both in facing our common challenges and seizing the opportunities ahead. 🇮🇱🇬🇧 pic.twitter.com/YeIc5qyxcL— Benjamin Netanyahu (@netanyahu) July 23, 2019
"Looking forward to working closely together, both in facing our common challenges and seizing the opportunities ahead," Mr Netanyahu added.