DUP visits Jerusalem to bolster Israeli ties
The DUP has this week sent a delegation to meet with both Israeli and Palestinian figures.
The visit comes about a fortnight after Israel marked the 70th anniversary of its foundation, and the US officially moved its embassy from the city of Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
These events were surrounded by a wave of protests led by Hamas at Israel’s border with Gaza, which saw Israeli forces shoot dead scores of people.
The DUP said today that its delegation is visiting the city to “strengthen ties between Northern Ireland and Israel”.
The visit is being facilitated by the group Northern Ireland Friends of Israel, supported by the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
It said that DUP delegates will meet “senior politicians from a number of parties in the Israeli Knesset [the state’s parliament] as well as with representatives of the Palestinian community in Ramallah [a town to the north of Jerusalem]”.
The DUP statement added: “However, much of the focus of the visit is on developing economic links in such sectors as cyber security, with Israeli and Northern Ireland companies at the cutting edge of new technology in this specialist field.
“The delegation will also visit the Holocaust Memorial at Yad Vashem and the grave of Chaim Herzog, former President of Israel who was born in Belfast 100 years ago this year.”
DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds, who was already in Jerusalem today, said that “we are taking the opportunity to meet with senior Israeli and Palestinian representatives to gain a better insight into the current political situation here and in the Middle East generally... Israel and Northern Ireland have many shared experiences and we are keen to strengthen our cultural and economic connections”.