Meet Sajid Javid, UK’s top Muslim, pro-Israel politician, who just may become PM
Robert Philpot, former editor of Progress magazine/ Times of Israel
Born to Pakistani immigrants, the new home secretary is a passionate Israel supporter who is lauded by the Jewish community for fighting anti-Semitism and BDS.
Sajid Javid, Britain’s new home secretary, is an unapologetic friend of Israel and a longstanding ally of the Jewish community.
Javid is the first Muslim to hold one of the UK’s three great offices of state. Aside from the prime minister, his only equals in the cabinet are the chancellor of the exchequer and the foreign secretary.
His promotion this week increased speculation about, and cut the odds on, him succeeding Theresa May in Downing Street.
Javid’s background is hardly typical for a Conservative politician. His father, Abdul, arrived in Britain in 1961 with £1 in his pocket. He settled in Rochdale in the northwest of England, working first in a cotton mill and then as a bus driver. The family later moved to Bristol, a city in the southwest, where Javid and his four brothers shared a two-bedroom flat above the shop their parents had taken over. The values of entrepreneurialism, self-reliance and education were drilled into Javid, a self-confessed “naughty” school boy. His mother would take her sons to the library on a Saturday morning and tell them to read the books, as they weren’t going anywhere else.
“That’s what got me into reading,” the home secretary told one interviewer. “It probably wasn’t the most positive way to do it. But there you go.”Javid’s father — whose 24/7 work ethic earned him the nickname “Mr. Night and Day” — had little sympathy for the unions which dominated Britain in the 1970s and the strikes which frequently crippled the country.
“If these people want to get paid more why don’t they work harder,” he would tell his son. Like millions of other Labour-voting, working-class Britons, Abdul voted for Margaret Thatcher in 1979.
Javid acquired his father’s Thatcherite politics and adopted his heroine’s go-getting philosophy. At age 14, he arranged a £500 loan from Abdul’s bank manager to invest in the stock market and began reading the Financial Times. He dismissed his teachers’ suggestion he become a television repair man, and secured a place at Exeter University — the first member of his family to go to university.
At Exeter, he became close friends with Robert Halfon, an activist in the Union of Jewish Students and fellow leading light in the university Conservative association. Halfon later became political director of Conservative Friends of Israel and is now a senior Tory backbencher and vocal supporter of Israel in parliament.Rejected for a job in the City of London — “let’s just say the [interview] panel made it pretty clear my face wasn’t going to fit in there,” he later recounted — Javid instead went to work for Chase Manhattan Bank in New York. By 25, he had become the bank’s youngest-ever vice president. He later joined the board of Deutsche Bank, where he made his millions.Javid’s ascent in politics has been as rapid as it was in banking. Four years after entering parliament in 2010, David Cameron appointed him to the cabinet as culture secretary.
Britain’s newly appointed Home Secretary Sajid Javid leaves after a cabinet meeting at 10 Downing Street in London, Tuesday, May 1, 2018. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
LONDON — Sajid Javid, Britain’s new home secretary, is an unapologetic friend of Israel and a longstanding ally of the Jewish community. Javid is the first Muslim to hold one of the UK’s three great offices of state.