Tzipi Hotovely, Israel's Ambassador to the United Kingdom, spoke to Arutz Sheva–Israel National News, on the UK’s stand on Israel, especially in regard to the current war against Hamas.

Tzipi Hotovely, Israel's Ambassador to the United Kingdom: “Hello from London. On the diplomatic level, the United Kingdom is standing with Israel. I think that the UK’s support has never been stronger. We have seen this from the first day of the war. I need to share with everyone how close the cooperation between Israel and the UK has been from the first day of the war. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak made the decision to support Israel and he came to one of the main synagogues here in the center of London, the Kinloss Synagogue, on the second day of the war, together with me and the Chief Rabbi and he delivered one of the most pro-Israeli speeches ever heard here.”

Quoting Prime Minister Sunak, she said, “‘I will stand with you today, I will stand with you tomorrow, I will stand with you always.’ I think the message was very clear. It's so easy to support Israel on the 7th of October, on the 8th of October. But the problem is, this is how public diplomacy usually works. The media starts asking hard questions about the military actions in Gaza and then you lose international support. What the British Prime Minister basically was saying is ‘I'm here to stand with Israel for a long time, for an ongoing campaign against Hamas,’ because they understand the complexity of it.”

She continued saying, “While we are fighting a terror organization, we saw Foreign Secretary James Cleverly come out with his clear declarations both in the media and in the UN. He was the one who came to Israel before the war and said, ‘Israel's security is our security.’ He made it very clear what a close ally the UK is for Israel and many people don't know this, but after the US, the UK shares with Israel on security and intelligence. Our cooperation in those fields is incredible and the UK is giving us assistance and support, by the Royal Air Force sending their intelligence abilities to help Israel in this war. And intelligence is major part of a war, as we know.”

Ambassador Hotovely believes that “this is part of the British help and support, also in the Security Council in the UN. This is where the clock is ticking. When we start a war, we always say there is a ticking clock, that is normally in the Security Council of the UN. I need the people in Israel to know that they have a friend here in London, which is the British people, the British government, and the British parliament, which means the opposition is standing with Israel as well. We just heard today the head of the opposition, Keir Starmer, saying that he's against a ceasefire because then Hamas won't be dismantled, and his capabilities will stay the same. What good would then come from this type of behavior.”

On the different approach between the leadership and the people, on the one hand, and the media, the BBC in particular, on the other, Ambassador Hotovely said: "First of all, the campaign against BBC not naming terrorists by name is an ongoing campaign. It didn't start just in this war. We started a campaign before the war. In regard to any terror attack on Israelis, we don't want them to use the term ‘gunmen’ or anything similar, because we know the difference and there is a major difference. The embassy was leading this campaign for a long while, including by holding meetings with senior people in the BBC and explaining to them why this is not the way impartial reporting should look like. How the BBC reporting on the war actually became a big issue here and many people protested against the BBC here in London; they wanted the BBC to stand behind its ethical journalism code. The peak of that was when the hospital case came out and when Israel was automatically blamed.”

She added that “what we're saying when we go to the media is that Hamas is using you. The Western media is so easy to blame Israel, so quick to say that the Palestinians are the weak side in this conflict and will support them, and this kind of bias must be stopped. This was part of Israel's fighting after the hospital issue, not just about clarifying the facts about the hospital, that it was an Islamic Jihad rocket, but also to say ‘you need to be in charge of the information that comes in a wartime, because you have responsibility here. So, I went to the media and said, ‘don't be a tool that is played into the hands of Hamas.”

On the pro Palestinian protests and the rise in anti-Semitism, Ambassador Hotovely thinks that “many people here in the UK feel that this is the same Jihadi ideology and when they're saying Jihad in the streets of London, they mean something that is very scary to most British people. Of course, the Jewish community is very concerned about it. But let me tell you my angle to that, as a diplomat, because actually it's easier to explain to people that this is not a conflict about territory, it's not about land, this is the same ideology that Al Qaeda had when it attacked the Americans in 9/11. It's the same ideology that ISIS led, and this is why the coalition led by the Americans had to fight back in Iraq and Syria, and this is the same barbarism that was attacking innocent Israeli children and women and men on the 7th of October. So, we are actually putting the West together with Israel in fighting a civilization war. Civilization is fighting against barbarism and against radical terrorism that Hamas presented, and it showed its real face. People cannot say anymore that ‘this is the conflict, you should have done more.’ Israel did so much and I think nowadays most Israelis are saying we were wrong in understanding the intentions of our enemy and understanding its ideology. It's not about having a good life in Gaza. That was never the case because Hamas used all the international support to build an underground terror city, instead of taking care of the people of Gaza. And this is what we show the world. We show the videos coming from the Gaza Strip. Just this week we're going to hold a briefing for all the top journalists here in the UK, to give them information that wasn't exposed before about what happened on the 7th of October. This is our job at the Embassy to bring the Israeli truth, but also to connect it to the values of the West. And the values are here in London; the people that care about a free society and a free country that can stay a democratic country. You need to fight radicalism.”

Ambassador Hotovely continued, “the government is very, very strict to say we are going to fight people who support hate crimes. And I think today there is a big debate here about what's the best way to do that. You also hear the debate in Europe about expressions like, ‘from the river to the sea,’ about people that are coming to protest with Palestinian flags, on one hand, but it's after the Hamas massacre, so there is a big debate of how to deal with that on a legal basis. But there is one thing there is no doubt about; when you're shouting ‘jihad,’ it's a clear hate crime and those people need to be in court.”

In conclusion, Ambassador Hotovely “believes that the UK authorities are doing their best in order to act against this situation. I know the Home Office secretary, who is dear friend of Israel, made a clear statement about it. And I hope on a legal basis that they can do whatever it takes to make sure that those type of hate crimes won't be on the streets of London.”