Israel is the only Jewish state in the world. It is made up of survivors of the Nazi Holocaust, Soviet anti-Semitism, and over 800,000 Jews ejected from Arab lands. Yet it offers full political and religious rights to its Muslim and Christian citizens. Israel is only one-half of one per cent of the land mass of the Arab world, about the size of Wales, and only 9 miles wide at its narrowest point. Yet it has made territorial compromises in the interests of peace. It returned the Sinai to Egypt as part of the Camp David Peace accords, withdrew completely from Gaza in 2005, and offered Palestinian statehood to Yasser Arafat as part of the deal promoted by President Clinton in 2001, only for Arafat to reject the deal and launch a terrorist campaign called the intifada.

Israel offered more than I expected it would or indeed I believe it should. President Clinton on Israel’s offer of peace to the Palestinians in 2001, rejected by Yasser Arafat.

The Jewish connection to the land of Israel is recorded over 3,500 years of history - by the Bible and by secular historians alike. Israel is the only state mandated by the United Nations and is threatened with utter annihilation by some of its neighbours. In 1948, 1967 and 1973 the State of Israel had to fight for survival against its much larger neighbours, including Egypt and Syria. Today it is surrounded by forces pledged to destroy it, Hezbollah to the north, Hamas to the south and Iran just over the horizon. Israel remains committed to a two-state solution, an Israel and Palestine existing side by side in peace. In contrast Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran demand all the land for an Islamic state and openly call for the expulsion or murder of Jewish Israelis. Why Israel? Ten Nobel laureates; mind-boggling technical innovations in medicine and communications; more refugees per capita absorbed than any country on earth; a democratic secular state which is a centre for three world religions.

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