Blun­kett to make Is­rael trip

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS - BY BERNARD JOSEPHS

DAVID BLUN­KETT, the for­mer Home Sec­re­tary and Work and Pen­sion Sec­re­tary, is to pay a first visit to Is­rael and the West Bank on Sun­day where he will meet Is­raeli Labour Party politi­cians, Bri­tish diplo­mats and Pales­tinian of­fi­cials.

“My long-stand­ing and ex­cel­lent re­la­tions with the Jewish com­mu­nity in Bri­tain have led me to be­lieve that a visit to Is­rael is long over­due,” he told the JC.

Mr Blun­kett will visit the Jerusalem Eye Hospi­tal and hold talks in his ca­pac­ity as a coun­cil mem­ber of the Dogs for the Blind As­so­ci­a­tion, with lead­ers of the Is­rael Guide Dogs for the Blind char­ity.

The politician, whose five-day visit will be un­der the aus­pices of Labour Friends of Is­rael, will tour the Old City of Jerusalem, visit Yad Vashem, the Holo­caust me­mo­rial, and travel to Ra­mal­lah to meet mem­bers of the Pales­tinian Au­thor­ity. He will also go to Haifa Uni­ver­sity which pre­sented him with an honorary doc­tor­ate in a cer­e­mony in Lon­don.

“The visit will en­able me to see for my­self and learn about the peo­ple and the coun­try. I look for­ward to dis­cus­sions with key fig­ures in the Knes­set, as well as a visit to Ra­mal­lah. I’ve had the op­por­tu­nity to speak to Tony Blair re­cently to en­sure I am com­pletely up-to-date in readi­ness for a visit that co­in­cides with the crit­i­cal con­fer­ence in An­napo­lis, ” he said.

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