Israeli Prime Minister Makes Historic Visit to Australia
JNS.org – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu began his historic visit to Australia, the first by a sitting Israeli prime minister, by praising the commitment of his Australian counterpart, Malcolm Turnbull, to standing up for Israel on the world stage.
“Australia has been courageously willing to puncture UN hypocrisy more than once, including this absurd resolution that said the Western Wall, the most sacred site for the Jewish people for thousands of years — thousands of years even before the rise of Islam — that this is occupied Palestinian territory,” Netanyahu said Wednesday.
“So the UN is capable of many absurdities and I think it’s important that you have straightforward and clear-eyed countries like Australia that often bring it back to Earth,” he added.
Ahead of the visit by Netanyahu, Turnbull penned an opinion piece in The Australian newspaper pledging support for Israel and denouncing the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.
“My government will not support one-sided resolutions criticizing Israel of the kind recently adopted by the UN Security Council and we deplore the boycott campaigns designed to delegitimize the Jewish state,” Turnbull wrote, referring to last December’s Security Council resolution 2334, which condemned Israeli settlements.
During the press conference with Netanyahu, Turnbull called Israel a “miraculous nation” and praised the Jewish state’s strides in areas such as the high-tech industry.
Turnbull also reiterated his country’s support for a two-state solution, saying that “perhaps the moons are aligning” to create a moment where both parties could “come back to the table and reach an agreement.”
“But, of course, as with any agreement, it needs two to tango,” he added.
Netanyahu and Turnbull also attended an event in Sydney with over 500 business leaders from both countries that focused on expanding bilateral relations in areas such as alternative energy, water technology, cyber security and agriculture.
“We have an extraordinary friendship. It’s based on values. When I color the map, I color Australia in the same color as the United States. It’s a partnership based on common values,” Netanyahu told the business leaders.
Netanyahu is scheduled to remain in Australia until Sunday and will also meet with members of the country’s Jewish community and other government officials.