During a commemoration of the 100-year anniversary of the Balfour Declaration, Great Britain's Consul General to Chicago, the honorable John Saville, reinforced the United Kingdom's support for Israel at a JUF board meeting on Nov. 20.
"The U.K. government believed then, and still believes that establishing a homeland for the Jewish people in the land to which they have strong historical and religious ties to, was the right and moral thing to do, in particular against the background of centuries of persecution" Saville said. "We continue to support the principle of such a homeland and the modern state of Israel."
Earlier this month, British Prime Minister Theresa May and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held a dinner in Israel to celebrate the Balfour Declaration centennial.
"In her remarks, the British prime minster spoke of pride in the pioneering role we played in the creation of the state of Israel, and our pride in declaring our support for the state of Israel," Saville said.
Saville praised Israel as "a symbol of openness and thriving democracy."
"Israel's energy, innovation and creativity stand out as an example to the world," Saville said.
Bill Silverstein, JUF's chairman of the board, introduced Saville. Rabbi Yehiel Poupko, JUF's rabbinic scholar, shared the history of the Balfour Declaration and the ties between Israel, the U.S. and the United Kingdom that led to the establishment of the Jewish state.
The board meeting was Saville's first formal public speech in Chicago, as he began his post last week.
"I am genuinely honored and touched [my first speech] is in this setting and to commemorate this important centennial," Saville said.