PM Netanyahu (R) and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90) (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Netanyahu Turnbull

The fact that Australian Prime Minister Turnbull came “half way around the world… signifies that friendship,” Netanyahu said of Israel’s special relationship with Australia. 

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held a working meeting with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on Monday in Jerusalem.

Turnbull is in Israel together with with New Zealand Governor General Patsy Reddy and a delegation of some 200 Australian riders to mark the centenary of WWI’s Battle of Beersheba, which was fought and won by Australian and New Zealand troops.

The two countries signed a Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU) on bilateral security cooperation.

The MOU encourages cooperation between the two countries’ security industries, and includes articles on strengthening inter-governmental ties and the exchange of information regarding opportunities and approaches in the security industries.

Netanyahu stated that centennial celebration and Turnbull’s visits highlight “the extraordinary friendship between Israel and Australia.”

He said that the new MOU “reflects our commitment to defend our common values of freedom, of democracy, of the rule of law, pluralism. These are values that are under attack by various forces. We cooperate in every way to safeguard our peoples and safeguard our civilization.”

“Australia is one of the most developed countries in the world; Israel is one of the most developed countries in the world, and together we can do a lot more,” Netanyahu stated, relating to the technological collaboration between the two sides.

Remarking on the 100th anniversary of the Battle for Beersheba, Netanyahu noted that “we have admired the fact that Australia had taken part virtually, I think, in all the battles for freedom in the last 100 years.”

He further nothed that “the first meeting between our peoples actually took place before Be’er Sheva, in Gallipoli when the first Jewish fighting forces fought alongside their Australian counterparts in Gallipoli. That didn’t go so well, Be’er Sheva went better.”

Interests Cohere with Values

“The  impression that Australian soldiers left on the Jewish community here in the land of Israel at the time was lasting – tremendous sympathy, the informality, the warmth, the shared values,” Netanyahu added, saying that while international relations are guided by interests, “but when interests cohere with values there is something special. Interest coheres with values in the relations between Israel and Australia.”

The fact that Turnbull came “half way around the world… signifies that friendship,” Netanyahu underscored.

When arriving in Israel, Turnbull said that while “it is a long schlep [from Australia to Israel], but let me say the welcome here … it feels like family, I do feel that we are part of the same mishpacha [family in hebrew].”

Netanyahu in February became the first Israeli Prime Minister to visit Australia.

“Indeed, the warmth of your visit in February was remarkable. It was, there was an enthusiasm and energy that you brought with you and that excited everybody that you met,” Turnbull said of the historic event.

Remarking on the fight against “militant Islamist terrorism,” Turnbull said “it is a threat to Israel, it is a threat to Australia, it is a threat to all who value and cherish freedom.”

“Stronger and stronger grow our ties, deeper and more profound than ever our commitment to the values on which our nations, our societies are based. Freedom, democracy, the rule of law, these are values we have always fought for and always will,” Turnbull declared.

The Australian premier is in Israel despite a brewing political crisis at home.

Turnbull was slated to arrive in the Jewish state last week, but had his trip cut two days short after Australia’s High Court last Friday found the country’s Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce and four other politicians had been wrongly elected due to their holding of dual citizenship.

By: United with Israel Staff