Despite one or two rather feeble arguments to the contrary, that Priti Patel had to go is not really open to question. She committed two serious violations of protocol, either of which, on its own, might have justified her 'resignation'. Collectively, they certainly did.

In the first place she failed to follow the most basic of diplomatic rules, meeting with Israeli politicians without first informing the Foreign Office (despite her claims to the contrary, which she has subsequently been forced to retract) and in the absence of British diplomats.

To compound this, she then visited an Israeli military hospital on the Golan Heights in the company of Israeli officials, and thus violated established British policy.

The first of these errors might, if one were charitable (and if she had not subsequently dissembled about it) be seen as forgivable carelessness – an error of judgement for which one could simply apologise and move on.

However, this first error led directly to the second, and much more serious, offence. Had British diplomats been present they would undoubtedly have told her in no uncertain terms not to go to the Golan. The reason they would have given is that the Israeli occupation of the Golan is illegal under international law, a position with which the UK government agrees.

Priti Patel
Priti Patel is said to have held 12 secret meetings with senior Israeli figures, including the prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, when she was on "family holiday" to the Middle East country in August - File photo REUTERS/Toby Melville/File Photo

By accompanying Israeli officials to the Golan, and subsequently requesting officials in her department to explore the possibility of providing humanitarian aid to the Israeli hospital there, Patel offered de facto recognition of Israel's occupation. By any standards this was a major blunder. Given the profound sensitivity of the issue, she had to go.

The implications of the episode for UK-Israeli relations would seem, on the face of things, to be slight.

The Israeli government may have had no expectation that Patel's visit to the Golan somehow presaged a change in UK policy, and as such will hardly be surprised by how events have subsequently played out. They have clearly lost a strong ally in the British cabinet, but one friend more or less in that context does not amount to a great deal.

The Conservative government remains a reliable friend of Israel, as was indicated by the warm welcome provided to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the recent celebration of the centenary of the Balfour Declaration.

What might be exercising minds in Jerusalem, however, are the consequences of this episode for Theresa May's government. Patel's resignation, following close on that of Sir Michael Fallon, is another indication of the fragility of the Conservative hold on power.

To the extent that Patel's diplomatic freelancing might contribute to the eventual collapse of the government and an election that brings Jeremy Corbyn to power, it has the potential to have very significant implications for UK relations indeed. Were that eventuality to come to pass, however, recent events will probably seem like a storm in a tea cup.

Steven Hurst is Reader in Politics at Manchester Metropolitan University. His research focuses on US foreign policy in the Middle East.