It’s a ‘golden era’ for UK-Israel trade, says Business Secretary Sajid Javid


Business Secretary Sajid Javid has declared it is a “golden era” for trade between the UK and Israel.

Speaking at the British Israeli Business Awards on Monday night, he told the 250-strong audience: “The past few years have been a golden era - what really excites me are the possibilities for the years that lie ahead.”

Bilateral trade between the countries is currently worth more than £4.5 billion.

Mr Javid said he had a high regard for Israel.

“Over the past 67 years, Israel has made business boom in the barren desert,” he said.

“It’s one of the many reasons I have long admired the country. I travelled there extensively, both for business and with family.

“Over the years, I have taken a great interest in its affairs. The values that make Israel such a success are values that matter a great deal to me. I share Israel’s love for freedom and democracy. I admire its tenacious determination when the odds are stacked against it.”

He went on to condemn a National Union of Students motion passed last week, which put forward a boycott of Israel – but not Islamic State.

Mr Javid said the move “speaks volumes”.

He added: “For me, freedom is an absolute concept. Today I talk on the freedom to trade, the freedom to go about your business in peace. Today I talk of the idea that underpins the entire political philosophy that I hold: that of free enterprise. It simply does not make sense to say, ‘I believe in the free market, but…’

“So let me be very clear. I don’t believe in boycotts. Nor, I’m proud to say, does my party, my prime minister, or for the most part, my country.

“On the contrary, my department, including UKTI, are working hard to boost Anglo-Israeli trade and investment. And I, as business secretary, will do anything I can to support and promote it.”

Hugo Bieber, UK Israel Business chief executive, said: “Having a senior cabinet minister address us is a privilege and his presence reinforces the importance our new government attaches to the business relationship between the UK and Israel.”

EasyJet was named British Company of the Year at the awards, while Sir Harry Solomon, the founder of Hillsdown Holdings, one of the UK’s largest food businesses, was honoured with the Lifetime Achievement award..

Businessman Marc Worth announced that he was stepping down as chairman of UK Israel Business after five years. His successor is Leon Blitz, the co-founder of investment firm Grovepoint Capital.

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