Published 21 March 2023
Signed at One Carlton Gardens, London, on 21 March 2023
For the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Of the State of Israel
For the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
The bilateral relationship has never been stronger. Our two countries complement each other’s strengths. As freedom-loving, innovative and thriving democracies, Israel and the UK are proud of our deep and historic partnership. We are firm friends and natural allies.
In November 2021, the British government and the Israeli government, signed a Memorandum of Understanding elevating the UK-Israel bilateral relationship to a strategic partnership. This represented a signal of intent for both countries to cohere, deepen and expand cooperation across our mutual priorities for our mutual benefit. This roadmap outlines how this strategic partnership will continue to serve our collective interests.
This roadmap, which defines our bilateral cooperation until 2030, will serve as a ‘living’ document. Through regular high-level engagement, our bilateral relationship will continue to evolve as a more modern, innovative and forward-looking strategic partnership.
Our strategic partnership is underpinned by extensive security and defence cooperation that continue to safeguard the UK and Israel’s national security. Throughout this roadmap, Israel and the UK will continue to cooperate, both bilaterally and through international fora, jointly to counter global challenges and threats. We will cooperate in improving Palestinian livelihoods and Palestinian economic development. We remain united in our shared concern towards Iran’s nuclear activities and tackling Iran’s destabilising and malign activity in the Middle East, whether engaged in directly or through proxies and terrorist groups.
The UK joins Israel in acknowledging the historic significance of the Abraham Accords. which have the potential to enable profound advancements for security, co-existence, prosperity and peace for the region and its peoples. The UK will work with Israel to both deepen and expand these developments, and build upon the progress of the historic Negev Summit, in March 2022 to explore opportunities for regional cooperation and development in coordination with the emerging regional architecture in both security and civilian spheres.
Israel and the UK will showcase the best that our combined strengths have to offer. Through the Britain-Israel investment group (BIIG), we will aim to combine UK and Israeli innovation and expertise to solve regional technology and sustainability issues across the Middle East and south-east Asia. The Israeli-British partnership in BIIG will promote and demonstrate the benefits of cooperation with Israel.
As innovation and technology leaders, our strategic partnership will help ensure that we remain at the forefront of the technological revolution. Together, we will continue to push new frontiers of innovation, scientific and academic collaboration. Through new, ambitious science and technology partnerships, including an industrial R&D programme, we are partnering between the best of UK and Israeli expertise to continue innovating for our mutual benefit. Based on this roadmap, we will supercharge science and technology through priority areas of cooperation, and continue innovating and maximising the potential of future technologies for our mutual benefit.
Our nations can do so much more together to create jobs and fuel economic growth. The UK is a major trade partner of Israel’s in Europe, with a c. £5 billion/NIS 21 billion trading relationship. We are committed to deepening our trading relationship through a new, more ambitious free trade agreement that will facilitate increased trade in priority areas such as services and technology.
We will also work to safeguard our planet and build a more environmentally sustainable and inclusive future together. At COP26, the UK and Israel both introduced ambitious pledges to tackle the shared challenge of the climate crisis. The UK and Israel commit to increasing bilateral cooperation on climate innovation. As the ‘start-up nation’, Israel has an international reputation for technological innovation, with over 750 sustainability-related tech companies and is ranked sixth on the Global Cleantech Innovation Index.
The vision for our two nations also includes health cooperation. We will explore the development of a dialogue between the UK and Israel to address the challenges faced by our healthcare systems, and building on the launch of the pan-Northern UK-Israel health-tech gateway earlier this year. We will also collaborate in order to materialise a pilot programme in the north-east of England, which will focus on digital health, telemedicine and expanding health cooperation focus on those areas and other tailor made Israeli technological solutions. Our ambition for closer, mutually beneficial ties is limitless.
We are equally determined to increase cooperation to tackle the global scourge of antisemitism. There is simply no place for antisemitism in this world. Israel and the UK will be front and centre in leading efforts to tackle this reprehensible phenomenon, as well as efforts to de-legitimise or demonise Israel, wherever and whenever it occurs.
Israel and the UK are united in the common belief that a democracy – which empowers citizens with the opportunity to innovate, create, and fulfil their dreams – is the finest form of government. We are clear that democratic norms are the mainstay for maintaining a rules-based international system and respect for universal human rights. As outward-looking patriotic nations, we know that a mutually prosperous future lies in stronger economic, technological and security ties with likeminded partners. In order to meet our ambitions, we will upgrade the institutional mechanisms that enable us to set and achieve goals across our mutual priorities.
a. Strategic dialogue: enhancing high level and ministerial contact through an annual strategic dialogue at Foreign Minister-level. This will monitor the implementation of the roadmap, and report back on progress to our respective Prime Ministers.
b. Diplomacy: enhancing the close diplomatic cooperation between the MFA and FCDO through a mechanism of annual political consultations (DG, Political Director, DDG for International organizations, DDG for Strategic Affairs among others). The consultations will focus on bilateral relations, regional security, counter terrorism, proliferation, global issues and increased cooperation in the multilateral arena.
c. Parliamentary: promoting and facilitating regular exchanges between our parliamentarians to foster deeper mutual understanding, and to strengthen our democratic and institutional partnership.
d. Academic cooperation: promoting dialogue between our think tanks and academic institutions on various aspects of our strategic relationship.
e. Regional cooperation: enhancing convergences and regional cooperation to further peace, stability, security, safety, prosperity, food security, environmental protection and sustainability in the Middle East. Working to improve Palestinian livelihoods and Palestinian economic development. Ensure joint approaches towards counter terrorism, counter incitement including on social media, and non-proliferation.
f. Multilateral cooperation: strengthening cooperation and coordination in the UN and other multilateral fora, in line with national interests and priorities, and advancing Israel-UK alignment on key global challenges.
2. Antisemitism, delegitimisation, and anti-Israel bias
Antisemitism is evil and must be challenged wherever and whenever it occurs. Tackling the scourge of antisemitism with full determination and force as well as fighting Holocaust denial and distortion is an integral part of our bilateral relationship. We are clear that victims should be supported, and that people who commit hateful anti-Semitic attacks should feel the full force of the law. The UK is proud of its longstanding track-record of standing up for the rights of members of all faiths and beliefs internationally, including the Jewish community. Israel and the UK will continue to combat antisemitism in all its forms.
a. Holocaust memorial: the UK will open a new national Holocaust memorial and learning centre to stand as a reminder of why we must be relentless in the fight against Holocaust denial and distortion, and antisemitism.
b. Multilateral cooperation: strengthening cooperation and coordination in multilateral fora to confront antisemitism, delegitimisation and anti-Israel bias including:
i. promoting resolutions and actions that tackle the global scourge of antisemitism and Holocaust denial and distortion, both on and offline.
ii. Tackling the disproportionate focus on Israel in the UN and other international bodies, including attempts to delegitimise it or deny its right to self-defence. All states have a duty to comply with their obligations under international law, but scrutiny must be measured, impartial and proportionate. The UK and Israel will work together to tackle the singling out of Israel in the Human Rights Council as well as in other international bodies. In this context, the UK and Israel disagree with the use of the term ‘apartheid’ with regard to Israel.
The UK and Israel believe that the latest ICJ referral on the Israeli- Palestinian conflict represents an inappropriate recourse to the Advisory Opinion mechanism as this undermines the efforts to achieve a settlement through direct negotiations between the parties, which remains the only viable path to a lasting peace.
c. International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA):
i. The UK will use its position as chair of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance in 2024 to promote fact-based knowledge about the history of the Holocaust and strengthen media and information literacy. Israel and the UK will also continue to encourage the adoption of the alliance’s working definition of antisemitism as well as the definition on Holocaust denial and distortion. Israel has submitted its candidacy for presidency of IHRA in 2025. In this capacity both Israel and the UK may cooperate as part of the IHRA ‘troika’.
ii. Israel and the UK will explore opportunities to work with governments, civil society organisations and tech companies to address the proliferation of antisemitism and Holocaust denial and distortion online. Both sides agree to conduct a yearly dialogue on antisemitism and Holocaust remembrance. The goal of these meetings will be to exchange knowledge and explore possible cooperation.
iii. Combatting de-legitimisation: both countries are committed to fighting all forms of antisemitism including in its modern form of de-legitimisation of the State of Israel, as elaborated in the IHRA definition.
d. The UK reaffirms its objection to Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions campaigns. Such campaigns are at variance with UK government policy, and not only unfairly single out Israel and undermine efforts to advance Israeli-Palestinian dialogue and reconciliation, but can contribute to the deplorable rise of antisemitism in the UK. The UK is committed to ending any such campaigns by public bodies, including through legislation.
3. Defence and security
The UK and Israel enjoy a close strategic partnership, with extensive defence and security cooperation to tackle shared threats, protect our mutual security interests and develop stronger capabilities. For both the UK and Israel, this is one of the most important defence and security relationships, encompassing a broad range of activities. We will continue to work together to keep our people safe from cyber, criminal and terrorist threats.
a. Bilateral defence cooperation: the UK and Israel have a strong and evolving defence relationship through strategic dialogue and professional working groups between the defence ministries and an agreement for military cooperation signed by the respective Chiefs of Defence in December 2020. It brings together defence engagement activity between the 2 countries, covering a range of topics including defence medical training, organisational design concepts and defence education. It also enshrines ongoing joint training and exercises that will continue to benefit both countries through strengthening military ties.
b. Force build-up, research and development: conduct joint research and development to identify transformational defence and security capabilities in order to tackle shared threats.
c. Counter-terrorism (CT) dialogue: strengthening cooperation to take decisive and concerted actions against globally designated terrorists and terrorist entities. This will ensure a coordinated approach to CT issues that impact both countries’ national security, including what steps we will take to counter entities and individuals involved in terrorism.
d. Iran: we work closely to counter the current threat from Iran, including the IRGC. We will work to ensure Iran never has nuclear weapon capabilities; we will seek to counter Iran’s destabilising regional activity, including weapons transfers, conducted either by itself or through proxies; and we will confront the threat posed to us both domestically. We support a stable, secure and peaceful region where all can benefit from the rapid advances taking place and closer social, economic and technological ties.
4. Trade and investment
As 2 technologically advanced service economies, Israel and the UK are committed to maximising opportunities to create shared prosperity and deliver greater trade and investment opportunities for UK and Israeli businesses and entrepreneurs alike. Our trade and partnership agreement, which entered into force on 1 February 2020, has supported our c. £5 billion bilateral trading relationship, but there is significant scope to extend and deepen trade and investment, particularly in priority sectors such as services and technology; our bilateral trade in services grew by 73% between 2010 and 2020. As an independent trading nation, the UK is committed to maximising trade with Israel through an enhanced, higher ambition free trade agreement. By lowering barriers and championing free trade, the shared entrepreneurial spirit of British and Israeli businesses can thrive.
a. UK-Israel free trade agreement (FTA): we will negotiate an upgraded free trade agreement, with negotiations commencing in 2022. Our aim is for the UK-Israel FTA to be an advanced agreement focusing on ambitious outcomes which enhance our trade in services, financial services, and innovation reflective status as technology superpowers.
b. Britain-Israel Investment Group (BIIG): through the BIIG Israel and the UK will partner on joint technology projects in both the Middle East and south-east Asia. Through capacity building and the provision of technical expertise, the BIIG will promote and demonstrate the benefits of cooperation with Israel. BIIG has the potential to foster developments in specific areas across the Middle East and south-east Asia, drawing them closer into the orbit of free-market economies. BIIG will aim to advance unique Israeli-UK capabilities to tackle regional challenges, particularly in the fields of food and water security.
c. UK-Israel innovation and investment summit: the UK and Israel will co-host an innovation and investment summit in London. This will promote trade and investment links between the UK and Israel.
With increasing threats in cyberspace, cooperation between Israel and the UK is vital in order to counter efforts by malign forces. We commit to further strengthen our already deep cooperation on cyber to promote international security and stability in cyberspace, including through bilateral cooperation on critical national infrastructure and collective efforts to increase our mutual resilience against cyber threats. We share the belief that our public sectors should lead by example on cyber, operating models and standards for our own security that we would want the private sector to follow. As cyber security is increasingly important to the global economy, these efforts are vital in safeguarding prosperity and enabling growth. Israel and the UK recognise and appreciate the importance of mutual cooperation on cyber security and resilience, with the UK recently elevating Israel to a ‘tier 1’ cyber partner and unlocking the potential for further cooperation.
In addition to countering cyber threats, Israel and the UK are committed to maximising the opportunities that cyber presents through greater prioritisation of cyber skills.
a. Cyber dialogue: committing to an annual high-level dialogue on cyber security and resilience.
b. Global governance: working towards a more closely aligned vision on the global governance of cyberspace.
c. Cyber skills: deepening cooperation on developing cyber skills and encouraging a diverse workforce.
d. Cyber start-ups and prosperity: prioritising increased links between Israeli start-ups and the UK ecosystem. Promoting the Golden Valley development in Gloucestershire – a DIT high potential opportunity (HPO) programme with Israeli investment and direct collaboration, working towards the creation of a cyber central hub in Be’er Sheva. Continuing the CybHER competition, linking female Israeli cyber entrepreneurs with UK investors and partners, as an annual event.
6. Science, innovation and technology
The UK-Israel Tech Hub – the first of its kind – epitomises what can be achieved through partnering British businesses with cutting-edge technology from Israel. Since its inception in 2011, the hub has facilitated over 250 partnerships, with an estimated £1.2 billion economic impact to the UK.
We have also cultivated a robust framework for supporting our academic and research and development (R&D) ties. We are committed to deepening further our bilateral science and technology partnership through new and ambitious initiatives. This will include the delivery of joint projects, totalling more than £20 million:
a. UK-Israel science, research and innovation framework: launching a new and updated bilateral scientific partnership to stimulate greater science, research, innovation and technology. On May 11, 2022 the Planning and Budgeting Committee of the Council for Higher Education of Israel approved £7 million for this partnership, which will be matched by the UK.
b. UK-Israel industrial R&D: innovate UK and the Israel Innovation Authority have jointly launched, through ‘Eureka’, a UK-Israel R&D collaboration scheme. With funding up to £6 million of joint collaborations, this scheme champions UK and Israeli businesses to develop new innovative products, industrial processes and services. The first round of the scheme has now closed and there will be a second round in the near future.
c. UK-Israel Innovation researcher mobility scheme: the UK government has launched a project with Universities UK International, which will fund UK innovators and researchers to travel to Israel to collaborate and partner with leading Israeli institutions, businesses and academics fostering strong links between our respective innovative ecosystems.
d. UK-Israel tech gateway: Launching the UK-Israel tech gateway to increase the number of high-growth Israeli tech firms setting up substantial operations in the UK. The tech gateway will support regional and sector-based alliances in the UK, building on the launch of the pan-Northern UK-Israel health-tech gateway. The tech gateway will also explore further opportunities across a number of sectors such as automotive manufacturing in the Midlands, energy and smart mobility in the West Midlands, cyber-security in Cheltenham and fintech in London.
e. Venture capital (VC): Increasing the flow of Israeli and British tech capital investment to the UK and Israel respectively, including through continued development of the VC club and additional programmes.
a. The United Nations Framework for the Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC): Committing to the implementation of the UNFCCC and the Paris agreement. Our nationally determined contributions will represent a progress reflecting the highest possible ambition, compatible with the goals of the Paris agreement.
b. Bilateral cooperation in cleantech: advancing cooperation with Israel’s clean-growth sector through the UK-Israel Tech Hub and the UK Science and Innovation Network, including on food tech regulation, flood management, and supporting technology solutions which combat climate change or mitigate/adapt to the challenges of climate change.
c. Wohl clean growth alliance: maximising cooperation on clean growth through the Wohl clean growth alliance – established in 2021 by the British Embassy Tel Aviv, British Council and Wohl Foundation. Facilitating UK-Israel cooperation between researchers and policymakers on clean growth.
d. Academic collaboration: to consider how the UK and Israel can strengthen academic collaboration around climate and environment through increased research funding and student exchange programmes.
e. Global efforts to halt and reverse biodiversity loss: working together in the framework of global initiatives such as the Global Ocean Alliance, the High Ambition Coalition for Nature and People, and the Leaders’ Pledge for Nature, as well as the UN decade on restoration.
As a global force for good in the field of health, with a strong track-record of cooperating effectively to tackle global health issues, Israel and the UK are committed to leveraging our combined research and innovation strengths to address global health challenges. We will further strive to create broad cooperation in the fields of the planning and financing of public health systems, the structuring of future medical facilities including hospitals and community based comprehensive clinics.
Israel is a significant partner for Britain’s NHS, supplying 1 in 7 of all medicines and saving the UK taxpayer billions of pounds. During the COVID-19 crisis public health teams from both countries developed strong working relationships enabling us to share information and strategies. We want to build on these relationships with regular discussions on surveillance and information-sharing so we can create strategies in the areas of early detection and response to public health threats.
a. COVID-19: continuing cooperation and information sharing to effectively tackle COVID-19, sharing best practices through partnering the best of UK and Israeli expertise to share best practices and increase pandemic preparedness.
b. Pan-Northern health-tech gateway: building on the UK-Israel health-tech gateway that was launched in May 2022 we pledge to work together to tackle major healthcare challenges. Establishing a long-term partnership with organisations in the region, aligned to needs of the region and supporting the possible developments of Israeli healthcare innovation into NHS. Looking into initial model in Leeds in 2022 with the aim of expanding to additional sites across the north of England. Also collaborating in order to materialize a pilot program in the north-east of England, which will focus on digital health, telemedicine and other tailor made Israeli technological solutions to current challenges.
c. Global health insurance: updating our bilateral reciprocal healthcare agreement to include the global health insurance card.
d. Future health systems: creating a bilateral steering committee with all the relevant government and non-government agencies and departments for ongoing cooperation and dialogue between the UK and Israel address the challenge of health systems in the year 2030.
e. Lifescience collaboration: enable UK-Israel fundamental life-science collaboration for the future of healthcare. Fund at least 6 collaborative research projects via BIRAX (~£1.2 million) and develop a life-science pillar as part of the Britain-Israel partnership, exploring research in areas such as: AI in healthcare, engineering biology and biotech.
f. Strategising improved preparedness and competency in the healthcare system pertaining to pandemic responses in the future.
g. Planning and budgeting for improved efficiency and streamlined services for community healthcare service providers.
Israel and the UK are guided by their desire to deepen and strengthen the existing friendly relations between the 2 countries and to promote the cooperation in the spheres of culture, arts, media, education, higher education, sports and youth. Israel and the UK shall strive to expand the contact, cooperation and exchange of visits between relevant institutions and organizations, experts, policy makers and artists.
10. Education and higher education
The UK and Israel will promote exchange of information and constructive contacts between the 2 countries, in various aspects of education and higher education, and will encourage the development of cooperation between educational institutes of both countries.[footnote 1]
We will strive to increase and ease the mobility of talent and academics between the countries.
Building UK-Israel cooperation to support development of low- and middle-income countries.
a. International development cooperation framework: identifying avenues for increased coordination of shared development efforts between the UK and Israel’s Agency for International Development Cooperation, MASHAV.
a. Developing a bilateral agenda on gender equality and women empowerment in general and in the context of UN Security Council resolution 1325.
b. Innovation: continuing to promote women in technology and innovation through Israel-UK women-leading innovation initiatives.
c. Gender balance: ensuring a gender balance in events, activities and delegations by aiming for 50% female representation, with an emphasis on senior visits.
- On the part of Israel, references to academic collaboration are without prejudice to the autonomy and authority of the Council of Higher Education and the autonomy of higher education institutions. For Israel, The Planning and Budgeting Committee of the Council for Higher Education is responsible for approving the specific details of the joint programming. ↩