Welsh Tories tour Israel for first time


Conservative Friends of Israel have led their first ever delegation of Welsh Assembly members on a visit to Israel.

Six Tories, some visiting the country for the first time, held meetings with government representatives and were briefed by senior IDF officers on the current situation on the borders with Lebanon and Syria.

The delegation also paid a visit to The Floor in Tel Aviv,  the first FinTech (financial technology) hub of its kind in Israel, where discussions were held on furthering trade between Wales and Israel.

Darren Millar, Shadow Secretary for Education and Children in the Welsh Assembly, said: "I have visited the Holy Land on a number of previous occasions but it is really exciting to share the experience with my fellow Conservative Assembly Members.

"We are lucky to have a fascinating week of sight-seeing and meetings exploring ways to further existing political, cultural, economic and security ties with the Jewish state.

"It is also an opportunity to show members that, contrary to some media reports on Israel, there is a very positive side to the country which does not always come across."

Delegates also met with senior Palestinian Authority representatives in the West Bank and visited the first Palestinian planned city, Rawabi.

They were taken to see the work done by Save a Child's Heart in Holon, where life-saving heart surgery is provided for children from the Palestinian territories and elsewhere in the developing world.

Angela Burns, Conservative Welsh Assembly Member for Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire, said her first ever trip to Israel had given her new perspective on a "land that has been argued and fought over for thousands of years".

Ms Burns said she was delighted to have seen first hand the "great possibilities" for further trade between Israel and Wales.

James Gurd, CFI's executive director, said: "The UK-Israel relationship is stronger than ever and Conservatives from all levels of the party are keen to further increase this bilateral cooperation."

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