In 2015, then London Mayor Boris Johnson visited Israel to deliver the First Annual Sir Winston Churchill Lecture at the Jerusalem Foundation, and kicked the ball with President Reuven Rivlin on the field of the “Equalizer” soccer project, which feature a mixed team of Arab and Jewish kids.
President Rivlin on Friday congratulated Prime Minister on the results of the elections, saying: “Congratulations to my friend Boris Johnson! On behalf of the Israeli people, and personally, I wish you great success as you continue to serve as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. I am confident that under your leadership the important relationship between the two countries will continue to strengthen and that together we will be able to face the challenges of our times on every front.”
In his 2015 lecture, Johnson mused about Churchill’s Zionist legacy, saying: “If we look at the history of modern Israel, there is no doubt that… there is something Churchillian about the country he helped to create. There is the audacity;the bravery, the willingness to take risks with feats of outrageous derring-do.”, adding that if Churchill visited Israel today, he “would still be hopeful that one day, with common sense and imagination on both sides, the Israeli economic miracle – that he foresaw – would spread to the whole region.”
Johnson, a good friend of the Jewish State, did not make many friends in polite society when he said, in January 2018, that President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as capital of Israel was a “moment of opportunity” for peace. In June 2018, Johnson accused the UNHRC of focusing disproportionately on the Israeli–Palestinian conflict and Israel’s presence in Judea and Samaria.
Fun fact: Boris Johnson volunteered on Kibbutz Kfar Hanassi in northern Israel in the 1980s.
Other kibbutz volunteers over the years include Bernie Sanders, Helen Mirren, Jerry Seinfeld, Anthony Hopkins, Sacha Baron Cohen, Sigourney Weaver, Sandra Bernhard, and Annie Leibovitz. pic.twitter.com/pyRFTDCk7n
— Avi Mayer (@AviMayer) July 23, 2019
In 2016, Johnson’s sister, Rachel, revealed that she and Boris took their first trip to Israel in the summer of 1984. “Our father thought this was a good way to get rid of us for the summer,” she recalled, “and six weeks of what I thought of as ‘Jew camp’ on kibbutz sounded fun.”