Brexit is a huge opportunity not only for the UK but for Israel as well
The mainstream media paints a stormy picture of Brexit in which British citizens fear for the future of their country. This pessimistic forecast has overshadowed the opportunities open to the UK once it leaves the EU. As an Israeli with a long-term interest in Britain, this is fascinating to me. With the largest democratic mandate in British history, the United Kingdom achieved an extraordinary and historic act in voting for Brexit. In deciding to regain sovereignty and independent governance, they may have turned the tide of history. Above all, this suggests that democracy is not something to be easily given up. This message should be pertinent for European bureaucrats.
In this spirit, I propose that we treat Brexit as an opportunity. This will be the most fulfilling time for Britain to reclaim national sovereignty and grow a flourishing economy, in the British spirit, as Britain shapes its future.
The media is telling the British and the world at large that leaving without an agreement on October 31, 2019 will lead to chaos. But throughout history, we have seen that predictions of chaos turn out to be false. This includes the fears that the world would end on January 1, 2000, which ended up being totally false.
The United Kingdom can sign new trade agreements, making it clear that in the world of free trade, it will be far ahead of the EU. The United Kingdom made it clear under Margaret Thatcher’s leadership that it had something to offer the whole world.
The UK can overcome the so-called crisis of departure by signing trade agreements where it will market its products to the world or find new places to trade. One method could be the determination of free trade agreements where tariffs and import duties will be abolished. The UK could trade with the US, Canada, Australia, African nations, South American countries, and Asian countries.
71 years ago, the UK was forced to withdraw from the British Mandate of Palestine, after pressure from the Zionist movement. Ending the mandate led to the establishment of a Jewish state in the land of Israel. Seven decades later, the Israeli economy is one of the best in the world and excels in its exports to other country. There is so much to offer the UK: high-tech, cyber technology, agriculture, science and more.
Israelis are very fond of Britain and would love to help with its success. Trade between the two countries is worth £4bn per annum. On the 18th February 2019 a trade continuity agreement was signed between the UK and Israel, this allows the UK and Israel to continue to trade on preferential terms post-Brexit. Both countries have committed to undertaking a review of the current agreement Trade with a view to upgrading it, including in areas not already covered and conclude an ambitious free trade deal between the two countries.
W4B Israel will spearhead a campaign to ensure that this is done as soon as possible.
A free trade agreement between the two countries post-Brexit could be a historic closing of the circle: if once we fought, then cooperation could empower both countries in a way that would greatly benefit their citizens and their international standing.
We await this opportunity.
Eli Vered Hazan is the director of the Likud’s Foreign Relations .