British Minister Ousted for Israel Meetings Back in Government

YERUSHALAYIM -
Britain’s new Prime Minister Boris Johnson, July 24, 2019. (Reuters/Peter Nicholls)

The cabinet shakeup under Britain’s new prime minister Boris Johnson has brought back a minister who was forced to resign in 2017 after conducting unauthorized meetings with Israeli officials.

On Wednesday, the former aide, Minister Priti Patel, was appointed home secretary (minister of interior affairs) by Johnson.

Patel, who had met without prior clearance from the Foreign Office or Downing Street with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, among others, had to give up her post as U.K. aid minister. The meetings were viewed as breaches of the ministerial code.

Prime Minister Theresa May’s office confirmed at the time that Patel had discussed the possibility of British aid being used to support medical assistance for refugees from the Syrian civil war arriving in the Israeli Golan Heights.

Also on Wednesday, Dominic Raab was named by Johnson as the U.K.’s new foreign secretary.

A 45-year-old graduate of both Oxford and Cambridge and the son of a Jewish Czech father who fled the Nazis, Raab reportedly spent the summer of 1998 at a university near Ramallah and became involved early on in the Arab-Israeli conflict, working with a former Palestinian negotiator of the Oslo peace process.