UK envoy predicts 'difficult issues' in Israel job


Britain's next ambassador to Israel has praised the relationship between the countries as he prepares to move to Tel Aviv.

David Quarrey, who will replace current envoy Matthew Gould in July, predicted "difficult issues" to be overcome during his time in Israel, but said the joint work being done was fuelling his excitement for taking on the role.

At a Board of Deputies reception on Tuesday evening he met leaders from more than a dozen Jewish communal organisations, religious bodies and charities.

The Foreign Office veteran, who was previously director of its Near East and North Africa desk and has made more than 20 visits to Israel, said he had already been involved in meetings looking at Britain's and Israel's technological, academic and ecological ties.

"There's so much going on that's so positive at the moment," he said. "There will be some difficult issues I'm sure. The region is in a mess. But we have common shared interests.

"This is one of the great jobs in the Foreign Office and it's a privilege to be doing it. It's a relationship that matters."

Mr Quarrey highlighted co-operation on combating extremism as an area of increasing importance.

Israel's ambassador to Britain Daniel Taub said of the new envoy: "It's hard to think of anyone with a broader understanding and with the experience of covering the US and UN. He is listened to with extraordinary intensity in the corridors of power."

Mr Gould, who was presented with a silver yad (pointer) as a leaving gift from the Board, said: "It's not always been easy, but it has always been interesting."

He described his successor as "extremely wise, balanced, calm, sensible" and said he would be the best "guardian" of the relationship between Britain and Israel.

Mr Gould said the Board and British Jewry's communal leadership were in "robust good health".

Board president Vivian Wineman said Mr Gould had "taken relations to a new level. The way he has improved ties and made a difference personally has been remarkable. He has been in a class of his own".

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