The press release issued by the Foreign Office on 26 April 2023.
Today marks Israel’s 75th birthday, also known as Yom Ha’atzmaut.
The UK and Israel share extremely close ties as seen through the developing economic and technological relationship between the two nations.
The UK is proud to be linked to Israel’s thriving technology industry – from cybersecurity, fintech, and healthcare, to energy and climate tech. UK companies have established partnerships and collaborations with Israeli companies in the tech sector. Over 400 Israeli technology firms have set up offices and operations in the UK – more than in any other European country. The British Embassy’s very own ‘Tech Hub’ – the first of its kind in any British Embassy anywhere, supports many.
The UK is one of Israel’s most important trading partners, with trade between the two countries reaching over £7 billion annually in 2022. The current UK-Israel Trade and Partnership Agreement was one of the UK’s first trade continuity agreements signed after Britain left the European Union, and ensures tariff-free trade on 99% of the value of goods traded between the two countries. The UK is currently negotiating an upgraded, ambitious Free Trade Agreement, which will focus on services and innovation where both Israel and the UK can excel.
For the past 75 years, the UK has been clear about Israel’s right to exist and is unequivocal in supporting Israeli security and right to self-defence, in the face of threats from its neighbours, particularly Iran. The UK has often stood at the UN defending Israel against unwarranted and disproportionate criticism.
The UK has consistently supported the establishment of a two-state solution, with Israel and a future Palestinian state living side by side in peace and security. This policy is a fulfilment of the Balfour Declaration but also results from a sincere belief that lasting security for Israel – preserving its Jewish and democratic character – requires a solution that offers equal rights and dignity for both Israelis and Palestinians.
As we reflect on the past 75 years of friendship between the UK and Israel, we are also looking ahead to the future. Last month the UK and Israel signed the 2030 roadmap for UK-Israel bilateral relations. The roadmap sets out our ambitions for cooperation over the next decade, as part of an innovative and forward-looking strategic partnership. It includes a new £20 million Scientific and Innovation programme, funded by both governments.
UK’s Foreign Secretary, James Cleverly, said:
The strong ties between the UK and Israel over the past 75 years is a testament to the strength of our close and historic relationship.
The UK and Israel stand together, defiant in the face of the malign influence of Iran in the region, and against the wider scourge of antisemitism.
I am happy to celebrate the significant milestone of Israel’s 75th birthday. Yom Ha’atzmaut Sameach!
Neil Wigan, British Ambassador to Israel, said:
I am proud of the strength of the UK-Israel relationship. Whether it’s our trade, tourism, technological collaboration, culture or security, both countries will continue to work together.
I know that the past 75 year relationship is just the beginning of what is an ever-evolving, ever-closer relationship.