The Australia-Israel relationship is in great shape.
This week, Prime Minister Netanyahu and I agreed initiatives that will advance our two countries shared interests in national security, counter-terrorism, cyber security, innovation, and trade and investment.
We witnessed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding on Defence Industry Cooperation to strengthen ties between the Australian Department of Defence and the Israeli Ministry of Defence, especially in the area of defence industry innovation. And we agreed that our two defence departments will now hold annual discussions on strategic and security priorities.
Prime Minister Netanyahu and I also committed to share our national experiences and expertise in aviation security and the protection of crowded places. Australian security officials will soon travel to Israel to gain insights into Israel’s world-class methods in targeting and screening air cargo, and in securing public spaces. And I have invited Israeli officials to Australia to learn about border management technology and the measures in our newly launched Strategy for Protecting Crowded Places from Terrorism.
Australia and Israel are embracing the digital world with a sense of enthusiasm and optimism. Australia’s Landing Pad in Tel Aviv is connecting Australian businesses and entrepreneurs with Israel’s sophisticated network of global investors, research and development centres, startups and service providers.
To consider how our two countries can best promote global cybersecurity efforts that enhance an open, free and secure Internet, my Cyber Minister, Dan Tehan, attended a Roundtable on Cyber Security. With senior representatives from the public and private sectors and academia, a forward work program was established that will help protect our citizens from emerging cyber threats. We look forward to the first of these 1.5 Track Cyber Security Dialogues to be hosted in Australia next year.
Australians should be proud of the support we offer to the Palestinian people. Through our foreign aid program, we assist the Palestinians to foster economic growth, fund education and improve services. This week, I travelled to Ramallah to convey Australia’s ongoing commitment to an independent Palestinian state sitting side by side a secure Israel. This was the first visit to The Palestinian Territories by an Australian Prime Minister since 2000.
2017 marks a historic year for the Australia-Israel relationship. Prime Minister Netanyahu’s visit to Australia in February this year was the first by a serving Israeli Prime Minister, and my visit to Israel was the first by a sitting Australian Prime Minister in 17 years. I am confident that my strong personal commitment and friendship shared with PM Netanyahu will propel the relationship to new heights.