Confirmed: Sunak, friend of Israel and Jewish community, becomes UK’s prime minister

In an interview with the Jewish Chronicle in August, Sunak described the Jewish state as a “shining beacon of hope” and pledged to increase government funding to combat antisemitism in Britain.

By Associated Press

Former Treasury chief Rishi Sunak is set to become Britain’s first prime minister of color after being chosen Monday to lead a governing Conservative Party desperate for a safe pair of hands to guide the country through economic and political turbulence.

The challenges facing the UK’s third prime minister this year are enormous: He must try to shore up an economy sliding toward recession while also attempting to unite a demoralized and divided party that trails far behind the opposition in opinion polls.

In his first public statement, Sunak said, “The United Kingdom is a great country, but there is no doubt we face a profound economic challenge.”

“We now need stability and unity, and I will make it my utmost priority to bring our party and our country together,” said Sunak, who at 42 is Britain’s youngest prime minister in 200 years.

Sunak will be the first British prime minister with South Asian roots and its first Hindu leader.

Elected party leader on the major Hindu festival of Diwali, Sunak takes over from Liz Truss, who quit last week after 45 tumultuous days in office. His only remaining rival, Penny Mordaunt, conceded and withdrew after failing to reach the nomination threshold of 100 Conservative lawmakers needed to stay in the race.

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Sunak will now be asked by King Charles III to form a government and becomes the prime minister in a handover of power from Truss on Tuesday.

He was cheered wildly by Conservative lawmakers during a packed private meeting in Parliament minutes after he won the contest on Monday.

Therese Coffey, who was Truss’ deputy prime minister, said the whole party should support Sunak now. “We need to get behind him,” she said.

Sunak, friendly to Israel, has been supportive of anti-BDS legislation and has expressed willingness to move Britain’s embassy to Jerusalem.

In an interview with the Jewish Chronicle in August, Sunak described the Jewish state as a “shining beacon of hope” and pledged to increase government funding to combat antisemitism in Britain.