Netanyahu and Herzog congratulate Starmer and pledge to further UK-Israel friendship

Israeli leaders wish Starmer well as anti-Israel activists seek to shift the dial on UK-Israel relations


Isaac Herzog meets with Keir Starmer at an LFI event (LFI)

Prime Minister Sir Keir Starmer has been congratulated on his stunning election win by the Prime Minister and President of Israel.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wished Sir Keir mazel tov, saying: “On behalf of the State of Israel, I extend my warm congratulations to Sir Keir Starmer, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.”

Netanyahu said that he looked forward to developing the friendship between the Jewish state and the UK: “I am confident that we will continue working together to strengthen the historic friendship between the UK and Israel and to advance the twin goals of security and peace.”

President Isaac Herzog, the former chairman of the Israeli Labour Party, echoed these remarks, sending Sir Keir his “warmest congratulations.”

Herzog said he was looking forward to developing relations between the UK and Israel and working with the new British PM to help bring the hostages home.

Writing on X, the Israeli president said: “As he prepares to enter Downing Street as Prime Minister, I look forward to working together with him and his new government to bring our hostages home, to build a better future for the region, and to deepen the close friendship between Israel and the United Kingdom.”

Both Herzog and Netanyahu expressed their “gratitude” to Rishi Sunak as he leaves office. Netanyahu acknowledged Sunak’s “friendship and support over the years”, while Herzog thanked Sunak “for standing with the Israeli people, especially during this most difficult period.”

The warm words from Israel’s leadership come as the new UK government faces demands from anti-Israel activists and newly elected independent MPs to shift the dial on UK-Israel relations.

Human rights organisation, Amnesty International, has today demanded that Sir Keir’s new government suspend UK arms transfers to Israel.

The charity’s first demand for the government asks that the UK “suspend arms to Israel” and "fully support all international justice processes over the crisis in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, including ongoing legal cases at the International Court of Justice and measures taken by the International Criminal Court.

“Should the situation arise, the UK government should be prepared to act on ICC arrest warrants including against any Israeli political and military leaders,” the demand went on.

Across the country, the Labour Party was threatened in previously held safe seats by independent candidates campaigning over Gaza, costing the party at least five seats and running it very close in others.

Jonathan Ashworth’s loss to Gaza campaigner Shockat Adam in Leicester South was the most high-profile hit for the party. Patel said in his victory speech: "This is for Gaza".

In Islington North, reelected independent MP Jeremy Corbyn posted on social media that “Palestine is on the ballot paper”.

Shadow Health Secretary Wes Streeting held his seat by 528 votes from British-Palestinian independent candidate Leanne Mohamad, and Jess Phillips held on in Birmingham with around 700 votes to spare. In Chingford, independent Faiza Shaheen came within 100 votes of the Labour candidate. All the independents in these seats used Palestine as a key campaign issue.

Share via

Want more from the JC?

To continue reading, we just need a few details...

Want more from
the JC?

To continue reading, we just
need a few details...

Get the best news and views from across the Jewish world Get subscriber-only offers from our partners Subscribe to get access to our e-paper and archive