I am a proud, British-born Muslim, and I love my country more than any other place on earth.
But, if for some reason, I had to leave, with my young family, and I was told that I must go and live in the Middle East, where would I decide to go?
Would I choose Dubai, with its vibrant city life and soaring skyscrapers?
Would I choose Saudi Arabia, a fabulously wealthy nation and the birthplace of the holy Prophet Mohammed?
There is only one place I could possibly go: Israel, the only nation in the Middle East that shares the same democratic values as Britain.
And the only nation in the Middle East where my family would feel the warm embrace of freedom and liberty.
Thus spoke Sajid Javid, MP for Bromsgrove since 2010 and, since September this year, economic secretary to the Treasury, addressing the 700 attendees at a business lunch of Conservative Friends of Israel last week.
Mr Javid, who is married to a Christian, observed:
In Britain, we are rightly very proud of our long history as a nation. But we are mere beginners compared to Israel, a nation that is governing itself in the same territory, under the same name, with the same religion, and the same language as it did 3,000 years ago. Now that’s what I call sustainability!
Israel is a country about which almost everyone has a passionate opinion — an opinion which they’re not usually shy about sharing, especially when that opinion is based on total ignorance.
If you want to have any chance of understanding the complexities of the Middle East, you can’t just read about Israel, you have to experience it.