Matthew undertakes packed itinerary on visit to Israel

Matthew has begun the Parliamentary recess with a visit to Israel. Accompanied by senior MPs from the Conservative Friends of Israel, the delegation visited a desalination plant at Ashkelton, a kibbutz at Netiv Ha'asara and the border crossing into Gaza at Erez.

These visits were in addition to discussions with members of the Israeli Knesset including Hilik Bar MK, Yair Lapid MK, Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely, Director General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Dore Gold and President of Israel Reuven Rivlin. Matthew also met with the Mayor of Bethlehem, Vera Baboun and the new British Ambassador to Israel, David Quarrey.

Other important visits made by Matthew were to the Weizmann Institute of Science and the Save A Child's Heart project in Holon. The latter is the largest undertaking in the world providing free paediatric heart surgery to children from developing countries - including children from the Palestinian Territories. Funded by donations from around the world, the project is run by volunteers. Matthew met two such volunteers who are his constituents from Mill Hill. Brother and sister Joe and Kate Freedman.

Matthew's visit concluded by meeting a delegation of Holocaust Education Trust Regional Ambassadors in Tel Aviv.

Matthew said: "Since my last visit to Israel with the Prime Minister in March 2014, there have been several events which have altered geo-politics in the region.

"The rise of ISIL, the Iranian nuclear deal and even the election of a Conservative government in the UK have all made an impact on Israeli politics. But the country is facing a difficult future in a region where previous securities have disappeared. I now see more in common between Egypt, Jordan and Israel than between several Arab states as in the past. Every Knesset member I met spoke of their concern about the Iranian nuclear deal and I will be closely monitoring the implementation of this plan to ensure their is no back tracking."

Matthew concluded: "One of the highlights of my visit was undoubtedly meeting my constituents and witnessing their fantastic work in helping hundreds of children at the hospital in Holon."

Matthew is pictured with Mill Hill resident Kate Freedman, a volunteer at the Save A Child's Heart charity in Holon