Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter



Spotlight: Theresa May

James Marlow

Her rise to the top political job in England was steep and sudden, but Theresa May has stepped up with aplomb. Five things to know about Great Britian’s new prime minister

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

shiur

Photo: Shutterstock.

Britain’s second female prime minister is the daughter of a vicar, a former Bank of England employee who joined Parliament in 1997. Her rise to the top political job in England was steep and sudden. After Prime Minister David Cameron failed to persuade his countrymen to remain in the European Union, he felt obliged to resign his post. Enter May, who until that point had served as Home Secretary for six years, a position that is widely regarded as the end of political careers, not a stepping stone to greater heights. But May, 59, is against all odds the newest resident of 10 Downing Street.

A Mixed Vote

May voted to remain in the EU “very reluctantly” according to insiders and colleagues because she wanted to remain loyal to David Cameron. Upon taking office, however, she acknowledged that the British people had spoken and “Brexit means Brexit.”

 
Good Manners

Despite just being given a day’s notice that she was to become prime minister, enter Downing Street, and form her own cabinet, May kept a long planned dinner engagement with Chief Rabbi Efraim Mirvis at his home in Hendon, North West London. Rabbi Mirvis took the opportunity to praise her turning up, seeing in her act a sure sign of deep friendship with the Jewish community.

 
Strong Impressions

On her first visit toIsraelin June 2014, Mrs. May stopped at Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial, calling the Shoah “the most terrible crime of history.” On her return toLondon, she told the Conservative Party Friends of Israel that in the face of threats from Hamas, Hezbollah, ISIS andIran,Israelmust “maintain a strong defence and security capability and be prepared to deploy it if necessary.”

 

Photo: Shutterstock

Je Suis Juif

Days after the Paristerrorist atrocities, including the attack on a kosher supermarket in January 2015, Mrs. May famously held a sign proclaiming Je Suis Juif (“I am Jewish.”) Recognizing the anxiety that British Jews were experiencing, she immediately met with Jewish groups and confirmed that combating anti-Semitism would be a priority for the British government. “Without its Jews,Britain would not beBritain,” she said. As home secretary, she further granted almost £13.5 million ($20 million) of government money to boost the number of security guards outside synagogues and Jewish schools.

 
Good Middos

After her closest rival for the premiership told a newspaper that she would make a better prime minister because she had children and May did not, Mrs. May not only forgave her rival but gave Andrea Leadsom a cabinet position, making her secretary of state for the environment, food, and rural affairs.

Related Stories

A Trip Back in Time

Shoshana R. Meiri

I grip the sides of my narrow wooden-slatted seat on the second floor of a glossy cream-and-red tram...

RNC 2016: The Right Place at the Right Time

Binyamin Rose, Cleveland

The morning buzz was more powerful than a double espresso at Starbucks: Considering how much Donald ...

Can Anyone Make America Great Again?

Binyamin Rose

Donald Trump promises to make America great again. His opponent, Hillary Clinton, retorts those are ...

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.
CAPTCHA
Message


MM217
 
Evolution vs. Revolution
Shoshana Friedman I call it the “what happened to my magazine?” response
Up, Up, and Away
Rabbi Moshe Grylak What a fraught subject Eretz Yisrael is, to this day
Where Do You Come From?
Yonoson Rosenblum Could they be IDF officers with no Jewish knowledge?
Heaven Help Us
Eytan Kobre Writing about anti-Semitism should rouse, not soothe
Work/Life Solutions with Chedva Kleinhandler
Moe Mernick “Failures are our compass to success”
An Un-Scientific Survey
Rabbi Emanuel Feldman Are Jerusalemites unfriendly? Not necessarily
Out of Anger
Jacob L. Freedman How Angry Lawyer was finally able to calm down
5 Things You Didn’t Know about…Yitzy Bald
Riki Goldstein He composed his first melody at eight years old
When the Floodgates of Song Open, You’re Never Too Old
Riki Goldstein Chazzan Pinchas Wolf was unknown until three years ago
Who Helped Advance These Popular Entertainers?
Riki Goldstein Unsung deeds that boosted performers into the limelight
Your Task? Ask
Faigy Peritzman A tangible legacy I want to pass on to my children
Are You There?
Sarah Chana Radcliffe Emotional withdrawal makes others feel lonely, abandoned
A Peace of a Whole
Rebbetzin Debbie Greenblatt Love shalom more than you love being right
Seminary Applications
Rabbi Zecharya Greenwald, as told to Ariella Schiller It’s just as hard for seminaries to reject you