AMBASSADOR DAVID QUARREY SPEECH 30 APRIL 2019
At a reception held at the official ambassadorial residence in Ramat Gan by the Israel, Britain and the Commonwealth Association, the outgoing British ambassador David Quarrey summed up the four years that he and his partner Aldo Henriquez had spent in Israel. Displaying an obvious affection and respect for the country he said that they had been four very fulfilling years and he highlighted a number of matters.
He had been particularly anxious to develop Israel-British trade and especially in the scientific field. Cooperation in research between British and Israeli universities was growing very rapidly. They had invited applications for grants which had to be joint applications between a professor in a British university and a professor in an Israeli university, where both were working in complimentary but not identical fields. They were amazed to have 90 applications encompassing 34 British universities and 12 Israeli institutions.
Scientific cooperation in very many fields was expanding rapidly. British universities were very happy to seek joint ventures with Israeli universities because of the quality of the work and the research
Trade between Britain and Israel has been booming. Britain is Israel's leading export destination within the EU, and bilateral trade has broken records in all the last three years, exceeding $10 billion in 2018.
Amb Quarrey thoughts that Brexit would make very little difference, and noted that the British minister for international trade Liam Fox had visited Israel in November of last year and had very constructive meetings with Prime Minister Netanyahu, major investors, and high-tech companies. The amount of investment between Britain and Israel was going up.
On the security front the Ambassador said that there was great cooperation although he was not at liberty to discuss it, but it was worth noting that the Chief of the Defence Staff, the senior officer in Britain's armed forces, had visited Israel twice within the last 18 months.
There had been growth in the arts, including visits by a number of leading actors and musicians. Developing cooperation between Hebrew and Arabic speakers they had encouraged and brought to fruition a joint production of Othello, where Iago had spoken in Hebrew and Othello had replied in Arabic. The art and rhythm of Shakespeare's text had come through both languages. He particularly paid tribute to his partner Aldo who is a very talented artist himself.
Asked if he had enjoyed Israel's food and drink, the Ambassador conceded that this had been a major attraction and that they had at least 12 favourite restaurants in Tel Aviv!
Summing up, Ambassador Quarrey was most emphatic about how much he and Aldo had enjoyed their time in Israel. He felt that progression between the two countries was going apace, and just as he had received the embassy in good shape from his predecessor, he had been able to develop relations between Britain and Israel which were now on a very firm and positive basis.