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OPINION: What do Silvan Shalom and Taylor Swift have in common?

Opening the UK-Israel Conference in Parliament.
Opening the UK-Israel Conference in Parliament.

If proof was needed of the impact and timeliness of Monday’s inaugural Jewish News Israel Policy Conference, it arrived within seconds of the start when the event’s Twitter hashtag #UKIsrael2015 began trending nationwide – alongside ‘#TaylorSwift’ and ‘#LorraineKelly’.

Watch Richard Ferrer’s opening address HERE

The day, which saw 40 major speakers arrive in Parliament to address 300 individuals from think tanks, embassies and governments around the world, cemented Jewish News growing reputation as the arena for political leaders and top commentators to set out their thinking on Israel and the Middle East.

Israel’s top politicians are often accused of failing to embrace the international community beyond the USA. This event was proof that if you provide the opportunity and a high-quality platform, the country’s leaders are eager to engage.

Monday signified the start of a new conversation, as new British and Israeli governments begin to reestablish bilateral ties and collaboration. And there was certainly plenty to ponder for the likes of Israel’s Vice Prime Minister Silvan Shalom, opposition leader Isaac Herzog, Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid, former Defence Minister Shaul Mofaz, Israeli ambassadors Ron Prosor and Daniel Taub and the UK’s newly-reinstalled Middle East Minister Tobias Ellwood – among many others.

The prospect of an escalation in Gaza looms as the so-called Palestinian Unity Government looks set to dissolve; the EU may take a more aggressive stance with the new Israeli government if it fails to address the settlement issue; relations between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu are at breaking point; just days remain before the crucial P5+1 deadline for an agreement on Iran’s nuclear ambitions. And, all the while, ISIS casts its ominous shadow across North Africa and the Middle East.

The fascinating results of nine intense hours of discussion and debate on all these core issues – and many others – are featured at length in this week’s edition.

As your community newspaper, the Jewish News also makes a public commitment that this conversation will extend well beyond Monday’s conference. We are acutely aware that our loyal readers were unable to attend this event so you will be pleased to hear our 2016 conference will be even larger, at a bigger venue and open to the general public in addition to the policy community. We have also started to plan a series of one-off Israel policy events that will take place around Westminster over the coming months.

In this way, Jewish News will continue to be the arena for an important conversation. And, hopefully, in our own small way help, to oil the wheels of the long road towards peace.

We’d like to thank key organisations and individuals for making the conference a reality. Our partners BICOM and Fathom magazine. The participation of the World Jewish Congress, Israel Channel 10 TV and the Algemenier. And the sponsorship of Tamaries, the Israel Solidarity Campaign, the Anglo Israel Association and many generous individuals.

Jewish News also thanks MPs Luciana Berger, Wes Streeting, Mike Freer, Oliver Dowden and Alistair Carmichael for their cross-party collaboration that helped us to deliver this event.

Watch Richard Ferrer’s opening address HERE

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About Me

Newspaper editor and publisher with 30-years’ experience at national and local titles in the UK and USA including the Daily Mail, Daily Mirror and Jewish Advocate. Editor of Jewish News (Free Weekly Newspaper of the Year 2021/22) since 2009. Columnist for The Times, Daily Telegraph, New Statesman, Independent and others.


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