Lapid congratulates ‘great friend of Israel’ Truss on selection as UK prime minister

PM says he’s looking forward to working with new British counterpart; Defense Minister Gantz calls her a ‘veteran friend’ who will play a key role in the global arena

Stuart Winer is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Foreign Minister Yair Lapid (L) walks with UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss at the Foreign Office, in London, November 29, 2021. (Stuart Mitchell/ GPO)
Foreign Minister Yair Lapid (L) walks with UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss at the Foreign Office, in London, November 29, 2021. (Stuart Mitchell/ GPO)

Israeli leaders welcomed the selection of UK Foreign Minister Liz Truss as the new prime minister of Britain, lauding her strong friendship with Israel.

Prime Minister Yair Lapid tweeted congratulations from his official account, describing Truss as “my good friend, and a great friend of Israel.”

“Our nations are allies united by our commitment to freedom and a shared vision for the future,” he said. “I look forward to continuing our work together to take that alliance to new heights.”

Lapid met with Truss in London in November last year when he was still foreign minister. The two signed a memorandum of understanding as a step toward a free trade agreement, increased security cooperation and joint development of tech projects.

Defense Minister Benny Gantz also congratulated Truss, writing that her “leadership will play a key role in the global arena.

“A veteran friend of Israel — I look forward to working with the PM to further deepen UK-Israel defense ties and cooperation, for the benefit of both nations,” he added.

Conservative leadership contender Rishi Sunak, centre, applauds as prime-minister elect Liz Truss takes to the stage, at the Queen Elizabeth II Centre in London, Sept. 5, 2022. (Stefan Rousseau/Pool Photo via AP)

“Congratulations to Liz Truss on your election as UK Prime Minister. I am sure that under your leadership the deep friendship between Britain and Israel will be further strengthened in all fields,” Opposition Leader Benjamin Netanyahu said.

“I also take this opportunity to thank Boris Johnson for his valued contributions to the excellent relations between our two countries,” he said.

Truss’s selection was announced in London after a leadership election in which only the 180,000 dues-paying members of the Conservative Party were allowed to vote. Truss beat rival Rishi Sunak, the government’s former Treasury chief, after she promised to increase defense spending and cut taxes. However. she refused to say how she would address the cost-of-living crisis.

Liz Truss, right, shake hands with Andrew Stephenson, British Conservative Party leader, at Conservative Central Office in Westminster after winning the Conservative Party leadership contest in London, Sept. 5, 2022. (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali)

Queen Elizabeth II is scheduled to formally name Truss as Britain’s prime minister on Tuesday. The ceremony will take place at the queen’s Balmoral estate in Scotland, where the monarch is vacationing, rather than at Buckingham Palace.

The two-month leadership contest left Britain with a power vacuum at a time when consumers, workers and businesses were demanding government action to mitigate the impact of soaring food and energy prices.

Johnson has had no authority to make major policy decisions since July 7, when he announced his intention to resign.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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