Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday heaped praise on his British counterpart David Cameron, who announced he would resign later this year after Britons voted to leave the European Union despite his campaign to keep it in the bloc.
Cameron is a “respected leader and a true friend of Israel and the Jewish people,” Netanyahu said in a statement.
Without directly addressing the results of the referendum, Netanyahu said that throughout Cameron’s premiership, “the security, economic and technological cooperation between the United Kingdom and Israel has greatly expanded,” and that “together we laid a strong foundation for continued cooperation.”
Netanyahu echoed sentiments made earlier by Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan who said he was “sad” to see Cameron resign, calling him a “fair, responsible” politician, a “real gentleman,” and friend to the Jewish state.
Erdan also praised the British premier for his support for Israel.
Cameron demonstrated a “profound friendship toward Israel” as prime minister, added Erdan, “and recently led an important decision against the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement.”
In his speech on Friday, Cameron promised to try to “steady the ship” over the next months and did not give a precise timetable for his departure, but said a new leader should be installed by early October.
“I do not think it would be right for me to try to be the captain that steers our country to its next destination,” the British leader said outside his Downing Street residence in London.
He said his successor should trigger the formal process for Britain to leave the European Union.
“I think it’s right that this new prime minister takes the decision about when to trigger Article 50,” Cameron said.
“I would also reassure Brits living in European countries and European citizens living here that there will be no immediate changes in your circumstances,” he said.
Flanked by his wife, Samantha, Cameron said he had fought to retain Britain’s membership of the EU “head, heart and soul — I held nothing back.”
But he added: “The British people have made a very clear decision to take a different path and, as such, I think the country requires fresh leadership to take it in this direction.”
Britons decided by 52 percent to 48% in favor of quitting the EU, a margin of more than one million votes, final results showed.