Home Secretary Sajid Javid broke new ground during a two-day visit to Israel this week.
The first senior minister of a British government to visit Israel’s capital city Javid and Western Wall in 19 years, Javid became the first cabinet minister to pray at Al-Aqsa Mosque.
In a multi-faceted official trip, which included a tour of Jerusalem, Javid held talks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
He described as “deeply moving and emotional” his visit to Yad Vashem.
“We must ensure such abhorrent crimes never happen again and consign anti-Semitism to the history books,” Javid said.
He added, “Freedom of religion and belief is a non-negotiable right for all peoples.
“The UK government is committed to tackling anti-Muslim hatred, anti-Semitism, the persecution of Christians and any other impediments to this right both in the UK and around the world.”
Aside from discussing security cooperation with Netanyahu, Israeli’s leader thanked Javid for banning Hezbollah earlier this year.
Javid noted on social media the UK and Israel shared an “unbreakable bond”.
Western Wall Heritage Foundation Mordechai Eliav explained to Javid the history of the historic site and importance to Jewish people.
Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz recited Psalms Chapter 121 with Javid, who placed a slip of paper with a message into the Western Wall.
“Your visit here is evidence that it’s possible for Jews and Muslims to live together in this small place without harming one another,” said Rabbi Rabinowitz.
Javid was taken aback that the Western Wall was open throughout the year and noted his interest in pictures of visitors on Jewish festivals.
By Howard Lawrence